Spain includes payment startup BVNK in its crypto registry

The Bank of Spain has registered the local unit of BVNK, the crypto-powered payments and banking platform for businesses, as a virtual currency platform.

The new license comes as Madrid is seeking to police crypto activities through introducing a raft of new regulations, including tougher KYC rules for digital currency transactions. Spanish authorities want to prevent anonymity in cryptocurrency transactions thereby placing a ban on anonymous crypto accounts.

Based out of London, BVNK provides financial services to businesses using cryptocurrency as it claims traditional payments running on legacy infrastructure suffer from excessive fees and slow processing times. Trying to leverage the attributes of cryptocurrencies, the startup bridges the gap through offering banking and money management services to companies struggling to balance operations across traditional and digital assets.

BVNK, which raised $40 in May to be a kind of bank for crypto companies, has built infrastructure that processes over $2 billion in annualised payments volume. It has also more than doubled monthly payment volumes in less than six months. Customers can make and collect payments through their BVNK account in both fiat and cryptocurrency, as well as being able to purchase new digital assets.

“The registration in Spain will be the first of many similar landmarks and demonstrates our commitment to becoming a globally recognised business that holds itself against the highest international regulatory standards,” said Maximilian von Both, chief legal, risk, and compliance officer, BVNK.

Spain, while it does not consider cryptocurrencies as a legal tender, has kept an open-minded approach when it comes to the existence of digital asset platforms in the country.

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.

Spain’s financial markets regulator, often abbreviated as CNMV, regularly issues warnings against crypto platforms and unlicensed brokers targeting investors in the country.

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.

The penalties crypto companies will have to pay if they evade this registry are between €150,000 and €10,000,000, and it could also include sanctions to directives of these platforms.