Spanish banking, and even European banking, is in a dilemma. He does not know how to react to the avalanche of requests from clients who claim in the offices or on the platforms of these entities to be able to carry out the sale of cryptocurrencies.
Everyone is waiting for the regulation on these virtual currencies to end in order to adopt their particular strategies. Despite this, most of the banks consulted by this newspaper recognize the risk of these assets and their high volatility, “but the interest aroused by crypto and the inquiries received is such that we will do something, although we do not know very well what ” , the president of a prominent bank recognized this newspaper on Tuesday. And he added: “Most likely, we will let the client be able to buy and sell bitcoins, as they can buy or sell equities, for example, but we will not advise on them, it is very risky.”
This opinion coincides with the vast majority of those responsible for the sector consulted, who, for the moment, assure that their entities will limit themselves to being “facilitators” for those who wish to guard and invest in cryptocurrencies.
Only Banco Santander, among traditional banks, has advanced that the entity is finalizing the details of its bitcoin ETFs (exchange traded funds). And it is that, despite the fact that the Spanish are among the first investors to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, the Spanish bank is still reluctant to launch investment products in these assets.
The supervisors also share the doubts about these online currencies. The European Central Bank, in fact, yesterday described the cryptocurrency segment as “exotic” in its Financial Stability Report.
The ECB describes bitcoin as an “exotic” asset
The CEO of Singular Bank, Javier Marín, declared in an interview with CincoDías: “We are not going to offer advice, nor will we enter into investments in cryptocurrencies. I don’t understand the intrinsic value of crypto nor do I think anyone does. Another thing is the blockchain. But, come on, if a client wants to invest in cryptocurrencies and asks us, then we will facilitate their investment, but I feel unable to advise on these currencies. They are very volatile.”
The CEO of Bankinter, María Dolores Dancausa, declared that when we talk about cryptocurrencies “we are not talking about a currency to pay, but about a clearly speculative asset, to earn money. As it is so speculative and, on the other hand, it is not regulated, we at Bankinter are not recommending it to clients, although we are following it very closely, how could it be otherwise, because it is a small revolution, and if at any Whenever we decided to do something, it would be through Evo, which is our digital bank. But at the moment the recommendation to clients does not go through the issue of cryptocurrencies.
BBVA was in June the first bank in the euro to offer bitcoin trading. This service has been launched through its subsidiary in Switzerland and after two years of testing, although any client in other countries can use the platform, as it has been opened to the rest. The bank estimates that 20% of clients are interested in investing in cryptocurrencies.
Most entities consider virtual currencies very volatile
CaixaBank does not offer any services related to cryptocurrencies, although it recognizes that it is a field that it is studying and for this it is aware of advances in both technology and regulation. “It is an issue that we are closely following.” Banco Sabadell coincides with CaixaBank.
The head of private banking at Credit Suisse in Spain, Íñigo Martos, assured in an interview that, as a bank, “we do not actively participate in the public sphere of cryptocurrencies, we continue to monitor events in the market and try to help clients understand these events from an intellectual leadership perspective”.
Cecabank, the largest Spanish custodian bank, is also planning to enter the cryptocurrency business. Its general director, José María Méndez, assured in a conference that the provision of services related to crypto assets is a path to be explored by specialized entities (such as Cecabank), probably having much more travel, at least in the short and medium term, than direct investment in those assets.
In this sense, the role of Cecabank will be that of the custody of these digital assets, and that they will complement the offer of the firm owned by the old savings banks to strengthen its position as an independent entity in the field of securities services.
For the time being, banking awaits European regulation. The ECB assured yesterday that the European Commission’s proposal for the regulation of cryptoactive markets is “a significant step forward.” And it highlights the strong increase in the popularity of stable cryptocurrencies, which try to maintain a price without great volatility by anchoring its value to other currencies or assets, including crypto assets, or with the use of algorithms.