Spain tightens the screws on cryptocurrency, blacklists Huobi and Bybit
Spain’s financial markets regulator, often abbreviated as CNMV, has issued warnings against a number of crypto platforms and unlicensed brokers targeting investors in the country.
Included in the list released today are two prominent cryptocurrency exchanges, Huobi and Bybit, as well as an FX broker that operates two associated websites. Some of the blacklisted entities have been the subject of other regulators’ warning.
These brands offer related trading services, but don’t hold the appropriate licenses or authorization to do so in Spain.
Bybit, a crypto derivatives exchange, has already shuttered its operations in the United Kingdom after the applicability of final rules banning derivatives that allow investors to take a view on the direction of the price of crypto assets. The ban affects CFDs, options and futures, as well as exchange-traded notes (ETNs) that relate to unregulated crypto assets.
Huobi, a former ‘big three’ platform, has been expanding aggressively into trading services in many other jurisdictions around the world, including Malaysia, Argentina, Russia, Korea as well as setting up an office in London.
Although the financial watchdog didn’t provide specific details, the inclusion of these domains means that they are not officially registered in Spain and are thus not authorized to offer trading services to local traders.
So far, Spain does not have specific legislation governing cryptocurrencies. The country’s regulators only tried to provide a definition of the virtual assets exclusively for the purpose of AML laws.
Meanwhile, CNMV follows in the footsteps of other European regulators that frequently issue a series of warnings against companies engaged in schemes to promote cryptocurrency investments.
Spain has recently approved measures to modify its money laundering legislation in order to comply with the EU’s Fifth Money Laundering Directive (AMLD 5). The Spanish parliament voted on the updated regulations in 2020, which allow the central bank to police the nation’s crypto providers.
Current laws force crypto exchanges, wallet providers and crypto custodial service providers operating in Spain to register with a financial regulator and prove that they are meeting AML requirements if they want to continue their operations.
On the FX front, the CNMV has adopted an aggressive tone and threatened some European brokers that they could end up closing their activity in Spain, as the watchdog was fed up with their unfair practices. In essence, the regulator’s warnings concern companies that offer forex, contracts for difference and other speculative products among retail investors in Spain.
The Spanish regulatory body said it mainly examines CFD brokers based in Cyprus, and that it has its sights set on those who use overly aggressive tactics and practices.