• Binance’s director of regulatory policy said he believes he can accomplish more with regulators at the exchange than he did at the FCA
  • The company gained regulatory approvals in France, Italy and Dubai earlier this year

Spain’s national bank has given the regulatory go-ahead to a Binance affiliate as the cryptocurrency exchange looks to bolster its European business. 

The registration as a virtual asset services provider (VASP) was granted to the affiliate — Moon Tech Spain — by the Bank of Spain. The Binance subsidiary applied in late January. 

The distinction allows the company to offer cryptoasset exchange and custody services in Spain that comply with the central bank’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing rules.  

Quim Giralt, director of Binance Spain, said in a statement the business now plans to significantly expand its team and operation, noting the firm will look to hire local talent in the coming years to serve the Spanish-speaking market. 

The VASP designation comes as Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has repeated in recent months that effective regulation is essential for the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies. 

Binance has invested significantly in compliance, Zhao added in a statement. The company in April appointed Steven McWhirter as its director of regulatory policy and Seth Levy as head of market surveillance. 

McWhirter, who spent nearly a decade at the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), told Blockworks in an interview that regulators’ objectives are not necessarily incompatible with responsible operators. 

He noted, too, that he is focused on ensuring regulators don’t get too distracted by recent volatility or other incidents in the space. 

“Many regulators and many governments are spending a lot of time debating and discussing the right approach to crypto and regulation, and that’s something that we’re actively engaged in,” McWhirter said. “I think I can achieve as much sitting here to help regulators achieve their objectives as I did at my old job.” 

The news also follows Binance gaining regulatory approval in two other European countries in May. 

Binance Italy registered as a cryptocurrency service provider with the Organismo Agenti e Mediatori (OAM) — a requirement under the country’s legislation. Earlier that month, the exchange became an official digital asset service provider in France by the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF).  

“That three EU countries have granted us a registration is testament to our commitment to collaborate with regulators and shows that we already comply with international standards,” a Binance spokesperson told Blockworks. “Binance is committed to obtaining similar registration and licenses as required by local regulators in Europe and other regions.”

The company gained a virtual asset license from Dubai’s regulator in March, allowing it to offer limited exchange products and services to pre-qualified investors and professional financial service providers. 

The representative and McWhirter did not reveal where Binance is hoping to obtain additional licenses.

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  • Ben Strack is a Denver-based reporter covering macro and crypto-native funds, financial advisors, structured products, and the integration of digital assets and decentralized finance (DeFi) into traditional finance. Prior to joining Blockworks, he covered the asset management industry for Fund Intelligence and was a reporter and editor for various local newspapers on Long Island. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism. Contact Ben via email at [email protected]