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European Crypto Unicorn Bitpanda Is Now Regulated in Spain

·2 min read

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Austrian cryptocurrency exchange Bitpanda is expanding to Spain, after registering as a virtual currency exchange and digital asset custody service provider in the country.

The company was officially entered into the Bank of Spain’s registry for crypto firms on June 16, according to the bank’s official website, and Bitpanda announced the news on Tuesday.

Bank of Spain opened its registry for crypto service providers back in October 2021, and Spanish crypto exchange Bit2Me became the first company to be added to the registry in February this year.

The European Union (EU) is planning to set up a license that would allow crypto firms regulated in one EU country to operate in others under its upcoming Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) bill. The MiCA framework is in the final stage of the EU’s legislative process.

But Bipanda, which had a valuation of around $4.1 billion as of August 2021, is not waiting around for the EU license to kick in, successfully registering in virtual asset service provider registries in both Italy and Sweden earlier this year. It registered with French securities regulator Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) in 2020.

The firm’s regulatory efforts have not come without incident. In February, Bitpanda announced the acquisition of U.K. crypto custody platform Trustology. On the same day the announcement was made, the U.K. financial conduct authority (FCA) warned it was watching the acquisition closely. At the time of the announcement, Trustology was registered under the FCA’s Money Laundering Regulations (MLR) registry, but according to the FCA that was not enough.

“The MLRs do not include any provisions that allow the FCA to assess the fitness and propriety of beneficial owners or changes in control before a transaction is completed,” the FCA said in its February statement.

Bitpanda later told Bloomberg the FCA’s statement was expected, and that it has a goodrapport with the regulator.

In a Monday announcement, the firm said it remains committed to achieving regulatory status in countries, particularly in light of the recent turbulence in crypto markets. Crypto markets have recorded at least $7 billion in liquidations as of Monday, while over the weekend the price of bitcoin (BTC) fell below $20,000 for the first time since December 2020.

“As recent market developments have shown, where you buy your digital assets matters and we are going to always be prioritizing the safety of our community, as we are working relentlessly to build the best and the safest investment platform in Europe and beyond,” Bitpanda co-founder and co-CEO Eric Demuth said in a press statement.