In Spain, companies from various sectors, not just digital finance, have started to apply blockchain technology to their operations. This disruptive technology has promoted pioneering projects in the country that are expected to add 20 billion euros to Spain’s gross domestic product by 2030.
As expectations around this technology have risen in Spain throughout 2021, so have investments, hype, and concerns about the stability and regulation of digital assets.
Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most notable developments in the Spanish cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystems throughout 2021.
Central bank warns of risks of investing in crypto
The Central Bank of Spain and the National Securities Market Commission issued a statement in February 2021 warning citizens of the risks of cryptocurrencies as an investment.
The statement noted that there is still no regulatory framework in the European Union to regulate cryptocurrencies, nor does it provide safeguards and guarantees similar to those available for other financial products such as stocks and bonds.
New tax regulations for digital currencies
As part of the effort to regulate and monitor digital currency operations, in early July, the Spanish Ministry of Finance announced the “Law to Prevent and Combat Tax Fraud”.
Here, the Treasury will require the reporting of income tax and digital currency assets, as well as the reporting of payments and collections made with cryptocurrencies.
Local media then reported that “this regulation introduces an obligation to provide information on the balances held by the holders of virtual currencies and on the operations in which they participate. This same obligation extends to those who make initial offerings of new virtual currencies.
Fintech industry gets a sandbox to play in
In May, the Secretary General of Treasury and International Financing issued a resolution that included a list of the first projects admitted to Spain’s regulatory sandbox.
The sandbox will allow a select group of companies to test new business models in a closed environment, supervised by the Bank of Spain, the General Directorate of Insurance and Pension Funds and the National Markets and Securities Commission movables.
The digital euro in the municipal code
In July, Juan Berenguer, the mayor of El Campello – a town on the eastern Costa Blanca in Valencia – announced that the municipality had been chosen to host a local digital currency project, complementary to the digital euro, in order to study how such a change of currency in the euro zone would be “accepted by society”.
The initiative also aims to determine how public and private jurisdictions can participate in the design, research and testing of a central bank digital currency.
Zamora promotes blockchain technology
The city of Zamora, capital of the eponymous province in northwestern Spain, hosted an online workshop dedicated to the development of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
The event entitled “Discover the secrets of blockchain and cryptocurrencies and how to apply them in your business” and organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Zamora was aimed at small and medium enterprises with less than 10 employees “who wish to improve their digital marketing strategy.
Use cases and innovation
Outside of finance, blockchain has seen innovative applications in civil and administrative contexts.
In February, more than 2,000 people in Catalonia took part in a survey conducted using blockchain technology. The initiative was developed through the digital platform Vocdoni which made it possible to calculate the results a few minutes after the closing of the polls.
In education, the University of Murcia has announced that it will issue blockchain certificates through Blockcerts.
The Spanish university issued blockchain certificates to participants of the Crue-TIC 2021/2022 conference “Disruptive Technologies by the Digital University”, where participants discussed the applications of artificial intelligence, data analysis and big data, blockchain, cloud technology and 5G.
A Spanish project using blockchain technology was a finalist in the European Digital Mindset Awards in the category “Best Digital Accelerator in the Public Sector”.
Endesa’s electricity-focused blockchain project, Confía, conducted a pilot project in collaboration with Malaga City Council and the University of Malaga.
Spanish startup 1MillionBot has developed a blockchain-supported virtual assistant for COVID-19 vaccinations.
Towards the end of the year, the Catalonia blockchain center announced that it would launch Carvers, a Catalan metaverse. The new monolingual metaverse aims to promote Catalan language and culture on the Internet.