The regulation of the crypto world is being one of the most important challenges for the financial industry. In recent months, the European and Spanish institutions are approving, or are in the process of doing so, different regulations to have greater control over cryptocurrencies and the advertising that refers to them.
The European Union is finalizing a new regulation dealing with this issue. After several rounds of negotiations on Mica (the new Regulation of the Cryptoactive Market), only the final approval is missing for it to enter into force.
One of the Spanish companies that is growing the most in the sector, Bit2Me, reaches out to regulators when dealing with the new changes. “Since we were born we had to implement measures that were not required of us, such as the identification of our client, because We have always had a very clear will to prevent the financing of terrorism, money laundering or issues of any kind that may be criminal. Nothing changes us as a company”, explains Leif Ferreira, CEO and co-founder of Bit2Me.
“What we wanted was to create tools that would allow the average citizen to have alternative money to the money that had traditionally been created,” he adds during an interview with Business Insider Spain.
MiCA will include scrutiny of all transactions, regardless of amount, and mandatory verification of sender and receiver personal data, even when transactions are made through “non-custodial wallets.”
In Spain, the Spanish Ministry of the Economy has already published a draft royal decree that has the objective of amend and update the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism. Some limitations to the crypto world that many have criticized exchangesthough not all.
“We are here to help define this and not create imbalances”
Ferreira also directly addresses the institutions in charge of regulation. “I would make an appeal so that the CNMV and the Bank of Spain understand that we are here to help define this and that it does not generate imbalances. That is to say, that the Spaniards are not asked for a series of regulations that in other countries do not have to be complied with because that imbalance is generated and in the end the users also leave.
The project of the Ministry of Economy also proposes to include in the list of subjects obliged to inform virtual currency service providers, in addition to virtual currency exchange services for legal tender, providers of electronic wallet custody services and key safeguard service providers.
Some voices within the crypto ecosystem speak that these measures, together with tax policies, may be pushing investment towards Portugal, a much more lax country in its requirements in terms of taxes on cryptocurrencies.
“There is a brutal risk that a desert will be generated in such a powerful technology and that it is having such a great impact on society in Spain. Without a doubt, countries like Portugal are realizing that entrepreneurs can come who generate high value in technological development and have an impact on a global scale, and they are attracting them there with the fiscal policies that are being generated. We must support the sector from the institutions and encourage talent here in Spain. The regulators have our willingness to collaborate in this regard,” says Ferreira.
“For us it is very important that the regulator bets on Spanish talent and helps in the regulation it generates,” he says.
Growth for the company in numbers and in personnel
However, in the case of his company, Bit2Me, the news improves year after year.
“In 2021 we have had a transactional volume 10 times higher than everything we had accumulated until then. In addition, we have made a very significant growth in talent because we have gone from 40 workers to more than 200 employees. All this is talent that we hire here at Spain because we are a Spanish company”, assures its CEO toBusiness Insider Spain.
From the company they argue that everything you earn is reinvestedand that, in figures for 2021, turnover exceeded 13 million euros, with a total volume of transactions of 1,030 million.
In a broader sense, Leif Ferreria comments that, despite economic and geopolitical instability (rate hikes, inflation, the war in Ukraine…), more and more people are joining the world of cryptocurrencies:
“Everything that is happening is generating more people to enter the industry, and not only at the retail from the point of view of buying cryptocurrencies, a lot of institutional money is coming in and many things are developing. A hotbed of brutal innovation is emerging throughout the ecosystem that will steadily bear fruit over the next 3-5 years.”
“In fact, I’ve been saying it since 2015everyone is going to be using cryptocurrencies directly or indirectly. It is inevitable because the technology is brutal and the use cases that are generated around it are very large,” he says.
In any case, Ferreira focuses on training clients and investors: “For us, training is super important and that the user fully understands what you are doing and the different types of cryptocurrencies there are.”
Increased insecurity around cryptocurrencies
If something has worried many crypto investors in recent years, it has been the increase in cybercrime related to these assets.
Ferreira considers the increase in absolute terms, but believes that in percentage terms there are no more crimes than with other types of money.
“Most of the stolen crypto is recovered, and I think this is one of the very good things that this technology has, and that is that is traceable. That is to say, you have in an accounting book all the movements that have been made, and each cryptocurrency has an identifier “, she points out.
It also indicates that “it is very important to understand the role of platforms like ours to provide security to the client. On our platform we ask for the DNI and we ask for a series of controls. The offender is not stupid and he is not going to use our platform, he is going to go to places where they do not ask for that data.”
Even so, he affirms that crimes exist and that “the more people use bitcoin, the number of cybercrimes will grow. But at a relative level, that is, percentage speaking, compared to other types of money, it is not greater.”
“I believe that a message of calm must be given about cryptocurrencies. In fact, what I think is that bitcoin is the best money that humanity has had”he concludes.