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6. Virtual Currency - Bitcoin
AAA  Spain

The Spanish government has been very cautious and conservative with regards to cryptocurrencies since Spanish law is highly protective of the rights of investors and consumers, and because during the recession there has been a large number of cases of financial and securities fraud.



Legal Affairs


There is no specific regulation on cryptocurrency in Spain, except that they cannot be treated as legal tender, which is exclusively reserved for the Euro as national currency. The CNMV also points out that there are no issues of cryptocurrency or “initial coin offerings” (ICO) which has been approved or verified by any regulatory authority such as the Bank of Spain or the CNMV. In Spanish law cryptocurrency cannot be considered either as a financial instrument (promissory note, derivative, etc.) or a currency (domestic or foreign) but we considered that they could be assimilated to securities in the case of public offerings or to chattels or commodities when they are traded individually.

To the extent that they can be considered as securities, ICOs may fall within the prospectus filing requirements of the Spanish stock market law (LMV) as the definition of financial instruments and negotiable securities is very wide (article 2 LMV), and the Spanish government can add new types of securities by its own fiat without an amendment of the law being necessary, provided this have been agreed under EU regulations.

The current position of CNMV and Bank of Spain is that it is necessary a specific regulation of cryptocurrency and ICOs, but such regulation can only be made at European Union level and after consultation with certain third countries, such as the U.S. which play a major role in word financial markets.

However, the CNMV considers that these types of platforms should have at least a set of rules of custody or registration, management of conflicts of interest between customers and transparency in the matter of commissions (in addition to the prevention of money laundering), which is why the CNMV recommends that platforms apply voluntarily the principles of the regulation of Spanish security market.



Economic Conditions


According to Spanish media, the number of Spaniards investing in bitcoin is significant but there is no market data available.



Miscellaneous


FinTechs to consider are Bit2me, Bitnovo and Chip-Chap.



Contributing Authors

Ventura Garcés & López-Ibor

Claudi Garcés
Barcelona, Spain


Alfonso López-Ibor
Madrid, Spain

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Chapter Index:


1. Payment Services / Mobile Payment

2. Asset and Portfolio Management

3. Consulting and Broking Services / Robo-advisory / Auto-trading

4. Trading Platforms / Social Trading Platforms / Signal Following

5. Crowdfunding / Crowdinvesting / Crowdlending

6. Virtual Currency - Bitcoin

7. Loan Services / Factoring / Loan Broking / Finetrading

8. Online Banking Services

9. Analytics and Research / Data Management / Risk Management

10. Accounting

11. Identification

12. Online-pawning

13. InsurTech

14. RegTech

15. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

Disclaimer:
The information in this guide provides a general overview at the time of publication and is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all legal developments nor should it be taken as opinion or legal advice on the matters covered. It is for general information purposes only and readers should take legal advice from a Multilaw member firm.

Publication Date: 1 May 2018