Crypto asset exchange license in Spain

What is the licence crypto asset exchange service in Spain?

A cryptocurrency exchange is a virtual trading platform that allows users to buy or sell their crypto assets, either using fiat currency or through transactions involving cryptocurrencies. Additionally, it also allows trading with stocks or any other financial securities.

The purpose of exchanges is to enable users to participate in a market where profits can be obtained by leveraging the free-market value associated with each asset. In this way, it becomes possible to energize the economic and financial life of cryptocurrencies.


What is the license that allows the exchange of crypto assets in Spain?

A VASP license is a permit granted by regulatory authorities that allows companies to register and operate as providers of cryptocurrency exchange services. The purpose of these licenses is to protect end-users and regulate cryptographic trading activities.

This registration focuses on companies providing services for the exchange of virtual currency for fiat currency. This registration does not authorize the company to engage in activities or provide services reserved by regulations for certain entities subject to prior administrative authorization or registration in another registry.

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Where is the registry of cryptocurrency exchange service providers regulated?

“Real Decreto” (Decree Law) 7/2021, dated April 27, amends anti-money laundering regulations, specifically Law 10/2010 of April 28 and its “Reglamento” approved by “Real Decreto” (Decree Law) 304/2014 of May 5.

Law 10/2010 of April 28, on the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism, refers to the VASP license in the second additional provision, regulating the registration of providers of virtual currency-to-fiat currency exchange services

According to the mentioned regulations, any company that exchanges crypto assets for fiat currency must register, as long as it involves:


  • Individuals and legal entities, regardless of their nationality, offering or providing virtual currency exchange services for fiduciary currency in Spain.
  • Individuals whose base, address, or management of these activities is in Spain, regardless of the location of the recipients of the service.
  • Legal entities established in Spain, providing these services regardless of the location of the recipient.


How to apply for an exchange or crypto asset exchange license in Spain?

To apply for the exchange or crypto asset exchange license, it is necessary to register with the Bank of Spain as a provider of virtual currency exchange services for fiat currency and vice versa. This registration can be done electronically (mandatory for legal entities), by mail, or in person at the General Registry of the Bank of Spain or any of its branches, exclusively for legal entities.

The obligation to register applies to all individuals or legal entities providing virtual currency exchange services for fiduciary currency, regardless of whether they are also registered in other administrative registries at the Bank of Spain or other competent authorities.

Registration in the registry is conditioned by the provisions of Law 10/2010, of April 28, as well as the existence of appropriate procedures and bodies for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, and compliance with the requirements of commercial and professional honourability.

Once the license is requested and the form is submitted, the decision-making authority lies with the Bank of Spain within three months from the receipt of the application.


What requirements are required for registration in the Bank of Spain’s registry?

The second additional provision of Law 10/2010, dated April 28, states: Registration in the registry will be conditioned on the existence of adequate procedures and bodies for prevention as provided in this law, and compliance with the requirements of commercial and professional integrity in accordance with article 30 of Royal Decree 84/2015, dated February 13, which develops Law 10/2014, dated June 26, on the organization, supervision, and solvency of credit institutions. Failure to meet the requirements of integrity will result in the loss of registration in the registry.

Regarding the requirements of commercial and professional integrity, the first paragraph of the mentioned article 30 states: Commercial and professional integrity required under article 24 of Law 10/2014, dated June 26, will be present in those who have consistently demonstrated personal, commercial, and professional conduct that leaves no doubt about their ability to carry out a sound and prudent management of the entity.


To assess the presence of commercial and professional integrity, all information must be considered, including:

  1. The track record of the individual in question in their relationship with regulatory and supervisory authorities
  2. Convictions for the commission of crimes or offenses and sanctions for the commission of administrative offenses, taking into account:
  • The intentional or reckless nature of the crime, offense, or administrative infraction.
  • Whether the conviction or sanction is final or not.
  • The severity of the imposed conviction or sanction.
  • The characterization of the acts that led to the conviction or sanction.
  • Whether the acts that led to the conviction or sanction were done for personal gain or to the detriment of the interests of third parties whose administration or business management had been entrusted to them, and, if applicable, the relevance of the facts.
  • The prescription of illicit acts or the extinction of criminal liability.
  • The existence of mitigating circumstances and the subsequent conduct since the commission of the crime or infraction.
  • The repetition of convictions or sanctions for crimes, offenses, or infractions.


3. The existence of relevant and well-founded investigations, both in the criminal and administrative fields, for acts against property and socioeconomic order, money laundering, against public finance or Social Security, or for violations of banking, insurance, or consumer protection regulations.

What documentation is required to apply for an exchange or crypto asset exchange license?

To apply for an exchange or crypto asset exchange license, it will be necessary to submit a series of specific documents to demonstrate that the company complies with the requirements established by regulatory authorities.

  • Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF) Prevention Manual: Obligation to provide a detailed description of the functioning of internal control bodies for anti-money laundering. An internal control body (OCI) must be established responsible for implementing policies and procedures. Additionally, appoint a representative responsible before SEPBLAC (Financial Intelligence Unit of the Bank of Spain ultimately responsible for approving the registration of the applying entity) for compliance with information obligations.
  • Risk Analysis Report: To identify and assess risks related to money laundering and terrorist financing, concluding with a preliminary overall assessment of the risk level.
  • Registration Form for Providers of Currency Exchange Services.
  • Complete the suitability assessment form for the applying legal entity, as well as for the individuals effectively leading the entity, signed by each of them. A negative criminal record certificate must be provided for both the legal entity and each individual holding a managerial position in the entity.

The certificate must be issued no more than three months before its submission.


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