Coinbase Obtains Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Registration Approval from the Bank of Spain

In its ongoing quest to expand its foothold across Europe, cryptocurrency exchange behemoth Coinbase has recently scored a significant win. The exchange has successfully secured an Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance registration from the Bank of Spain, marking a pivotal moment in its European expansion efforts.

This regulatory approval signifies that Spanish users can now enjoy a broader range of services on Coinbase. They can not only retain custody of their cryptocurrency assets within the platform but also engage in the buying and selling of digital assets using euros.

In a statement released on September 22, Coinbase emphasized that this new registration empowers them to offer their complete suite of products and services to both retail and institutional users in Spain, all while adhering to the national legal framework.

The timing couldn’t be better, as the statement highlighted that nearly one-third of adults in Spain harbor a positive outlook on digital assets, with 29% believing that cryptocurrencies represent the future of finance. Furthermore, the report noted that crypto has now become the second most preferred payment method in Spain, outstripping traditional bank transfers.

Nana Murugesan, Coinbase’s Vice President of International and Business Development, expressed the exchange’s commitment to global regulatory compliance. He pointed out that over the past year, Coinbase has successfully obtained Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) registrations in countries like Italy, Ireland, and the Netherlands, with expansion efforts and approvals extending to Singapore, Brazil, and Canada.

This development comes on the heels of another crypto exchange, Crypto.com, receiving regulatory approval in Spain. Back in June, Crypto.com proudly announced that it had secured a virtual asset service provider registration from the Bank of Spain.

It’s worth noting that the Bank of Spain issued guidance in October 2021 outlining the steps crypto service providers should take to achieve AML compliance within the country. These guidelines mandated that crypto exchanges must submit reports detailing their efforts to combat illicit activities such as money laundering and terrorism financing.

In parallel, reports have emerged indicating Coinbase’s determination to establish a robust presence in Europe. On the very same day as this AML registration announcement, news broke that Coinbase had made two attempts to acquire the defunct crypto exchange FTX Europe—once in November 2022, when FTX filed for bankruptcy, and again in September 2023.

This expansion push coincides with the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) underlining the need for non-European regulators to take a stricter stance in overseeing the global crypto market. With the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA) Act steadily progressing toward its December 2024 implementation deadline, an EPRS report emphasizes the necessity of establishing a more rigorous regulatory framework in non-EU jurisdictions. It highlights the potential risks to the EU’s financial system and autonomy if it remains dependent on the policy actions of non-EU countries under the MiCA framework.

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