The crypto exchange Coinbase has successfully obtained an Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance registration from Spain’s central bank. This significant step forms part of its continuous expansion throughout Europe. With this new AML registration, retail and institutional investors within Spain are now granted the functionality to maintain custody of their crypto assets, and purchase or sell crypto in the country’s legal tender, the Euro.
These developments are impactful considering the positive disposition of Spaniards towards cryptocurrency; an estimated 29% of adults in Spain perceive crypto as the financial future. Moreover, cryptocurrency has established itself as the second most favored payment method in Spain, impressively outperforming traditional bank transfers.
On a global scale, Coinbase has been diligently working to align with regulatory requirements. In the past year, the exchange has bagged VASP registrations in Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands. It also secured in-principle approval and launched in Singapore and Brazil, with a recent launch in Canada as well.
However, it’s worth noting that this pursuit of global expansion comes with potential complications. As emphasized by The European Parliamentary Research (EPRS), a more severe regulatory framework in non-EU regions is due. With the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA) Act up for implementation by December 2024, the EPRS urges the establishment of tighter protocols, particularly in the context where the MiCA is applicable. This highlights the inherent struggle of establishing a firm footing in both EU and non-EU markets while navigating regulatory changes and expectations.
In related news, Coinbase continues to make headlines, with recent report revealing that the exchange holds about 5% of all existing Bitcoin (BTC), amounting to nearly $25 billion. Interestingly, a considerable reaction from crypto enthusiasts has been a call for BTC holders to withdraw their assets from exchanges. This sentiment signals a growing skepticism about the security of cold wallets and storage methods offered by exchanges. A highlight of these developments is the underlying necessity for crypto institutions to not only expand and thrive in different markets, but also ensure the utmost security for assets under their domain. Whether Coinbase‘s recent AML compliance registration in Spain will sway opinion in favor of the exchange’s security methods remains to be seen.