Spain’s central bank has issued a reminder to citizens warning of the risks involved in transacting unregulated cryptocurrencies. The Bank of Spain’s notice, issued Feb. 10, followed an official blog post published two days earlier, which had outlined the institution’s stance on cryptocurrencies, their characteristics, and their legal status in Spain and the wider European Union.
Both documents underscore the fact that Spain has not yet passed any legislation in regard to cryptocurrency, and that crypto exchange platforms and other companies in the sector are thus neither supervised not authorized by the central bank. Crypto platforms also do not carry the protections of national deposit guarantee systems such as Spain’s Deposit Guarantee Fund, the bank states.
The institution starkly warns that in cases where crypto is used for purchases of goods and services, it would be an “impossible mission” for a consumer to claim their rights should anything go awry with the payment or purchased product.
Claiming that no state has yet conferred the status of legal tender on the new asset class, the central bank recalls that its governor, Pablo Hernández de Cos, has categorically determined that crypto “cannot replace money and is not a means of payment or common exchange.”
The Spanish central bank goes on to note the evolving — but still not unanimous — definition of crypto in the EU. The bank cites a 2015 Directive that deems crypto to be a digital representation of value without central bank or public authority issuance, and which does not have the status of legal tender. The Directive also reportedly notes that crypto can nonetheless be exchanged and transacted between natural persons or legal entities.