In Spain, companies from various industries, not just digital finance, have begun to apply blockchain technology in their activities. This revolutionary technology has fueled pioneering projects in the country that are expected to add 20 billion euros to Spain's gross domestic product by 2030.
As expectations for the technology grew in Spain during 2021, so did investment, hype and concerns about the stability and regulation of digital assets. Here are some of the most notable developments in the Spanish cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem during 2021.
Central Bank Warns of Risks of Crypto Investments
The Central Bank of Spain, together with the National Commission for the Securities Market, issued a statement in February 2021 warning citizens about the risks of cryptocurrencies as an investment. The statement noted that the European Union still does not have a regulatory framework for regulating cryptocurrencies, and also does not provide guarantees and guarantees similar to those available for other financial products such as stocks and bonds.
New tax rules for digital currencies
As part of an effort to regulate and keep digital currency transactions under scrutiny, in early July, the Spanish Ministry of Finance announced a “law to prevent and combat tax fraud.” In this case, the Treasury will require the declaration of income tax and assets in digital currency, as well as reporting on payments and collections made using cryptocurrencies. Local media then reported that “this ruling introduces an obligation to provide information about the balances held by the holders of virtual currencies and the transactions in which they are involved. The same obligation applies to those who make initial offers of new virtual currencies.”
Fintech industry gets a sandbox to play with
In May, the Secretary General of the Treasury and International Finance published a resolution that included a list of the first projects accepted by the Spanish RegulatorySandbox. The sandbox will allow a select group of companies to test new business models in a closed environment under the supervision of the Bank of Spain, the General Directorate of Insurance and Pension Funds and the National Commission for Markets and Securities.
Digital euro in municipal code
In July, Juan Berenguer, mayor of El Campello, a city on the Costa Blanca east of Valencia, revealed that the municipality had been selected to host a local digital currency project to complement the digital euro, to explore how such a currency change in the eurozone was "accepted by society" . The initiative also aims to define how both public and private jurisdictions can participate in the development, research and testing of a central bank digital currency.
Zamora promotes blockchain technology
In the city of Zamora, the capital of the province of the same name in northwestern Spain, an online seminar was held on the development of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. The event, titled “Unlock the secrets of blockchain and cryptocurrencies and how to apply them in your company”, and organized by the Zamora Chamber of Commerce, was aimed at small and medium-sized companies with a salary of less than 10 employees, “who want to improve their digital marketing strategy.”
Use cases and innovations
Beyond 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 Vocdoni digital platform, which allowed the results to be calculated minutes after the polls closed. In the field of education, the University of Murcia has announced that it will issue certificates on the blockchain through Blockcerts.
The Spanish University issued blockchain certificates to the participants of the Crue-TIC 2021/2022 conference "Disruptive technologies of the digital university", where the participants discussed the applications of artificial intelligence, data and big data analytics, blockchain, cloud technologies and 5G. A Spanish project using blockchain technology became a finalist of the European Digital Mindset Awards in the category "Best Digital Accelerator in the Public Sector". Endesa, an electricity-focused blockchain project, Confía conducted a pilot project in collaboration with the Malaga City Council and the University of Malaga.
Spanish startup 1MillionBot has developed a blockchain-backed virtual assistant for COVID-19 vaccinations. Toward the end of the year, the blockchain powerhouse of Catalonia announced that it would be launching the Catalan metaverse of Carvers. The new monolingual metaverse aims to promote the Catalan language and culture online.