Online Spanish news source El Confidencial has reported that 60 cryptocurrency companies have been contacted by the Spanish tax authorities and asked to surrender details regarding their clients.
Sixteen Spanish banks and around a dozen exchanges operating crypto ATMs have been contacted along with more than 40 businesses that accept online cryptocurrency payments, the source revealed. Identities of the companies’ clients have been asked for by the government agency, including further details such as bank and credit card details, and amounts along with exchange rates involved in transactions.
Spanish prime minister Mariano Maroy’s People’s Party has been preparing legislation, including possible tax breaks to attract companies using blockchain. Although it is in Spain’s interest to attract new companies to the new technology due to its importance and relevance in the financial ecosystem, concerns about ensuring user safety and fraud are never far away. Consequently, formal investigations and monitoring are to become significantly important in terms of driving the technology forward in a trustworthy business environment.
Spain’s government has tended to link the cryptocurrency industry to organized crime; one of the reasons for regulation, legislation, formal investigation and supervision. As cryptocurrencies have become more accepted in the country due to their growing popularity, distributed ledger technologies are increasingly being studied for potential use in industries, from banking to commodities. In the fintech area, blockchains increase the speed of transactions and enable instant cross-border settlement.
This recent action against 60 companies by the Spanish tax authority can be viewed as another move towards further protecting the industry against potential tax evasion and money laundering using cryptocurrency. The investigations are partly a follow up to recent moves by the country’s National Fraud Investigation Office to cut down on tax evasion of all kinds, particularly internet-based companies such as Airbnb Inc where clients can withhold income information.