Saturday, June 25

Editorial | The urgency and opportunity for Spain to regulate cryptocurrencies

The emergence of the cryptocurrency phenomenon in recent years has generated a wave of euphoria in the markets and concern among regulators. The warnings about the strong volatility and the high risk that exists in the operations carried out with these assets have not been able to curb the investment appetite of those who bet on their spectacular returns. Bitcoin, for example, has gone from being paid at $ 800 at the end of 2016 to a record of close to 68,000 in November, which represents a revaluation of 8,500%.

The pressure to put a bell on the cat as soon as possible has led Brussels to get down to work to approve a regulation. The latest version of the draft, however, delays the application of the regulations for a large part of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, until the first half of 2024. Only the regulation referring to cryptocurrencies referenced to assets -stablecoins- and of electronic money tokens will be brought forward a year, in anticipation that the entry into the business of the tech giants could pose a risk to European financial stability.

Brussels’ delay in approving the regulation should not come as a surprise, but rather a further example of the lack of legislative agility and governance deficiencies plaguing the EU. But the fact that the Commission loses the train of cryptocurrencies, with all that it implies of inaction in the face of a market of very high risk and potential, does not have to prevent national regulators from taking a step forward and approving their own capable regulations. to take advantage of the phenomenon and reduce its deficiencies.

Germany, France and Luxembourg are already preparing a national regulatory framework, while Portugal has chosen to offer attractive taxation in order to attract investors. All are very significant signs of the interest in the European market to position itself in a sector with high financial potential, as well as to put an end to the growing irregularities and fraudulent uses that have arisen around these assets. Spain cannot afford to wait two years to address the regulation of cryptocurrencies, because in this as in other areas, those who take the first step will have a significant competitive advantage, and they will do so in a context of economic recovery and in digitized financial markets that today have no borders.

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