New digital asset unit
The bank begins to take steps through its investment banking business, where it plans to launch new products based on blockchain encryption technology.
Tania Rodríguez Cruybeeck NEWS04.01.2022 – 04:30h
The president of Banco Santander, Ana Botín, has long been clear that the cryptosphere is part of the future of markets and investment. Despite the reluctance of many entities and regulators, the group takes firm steps to compete in a business that has been monopolized from the beginning by incoming and disruptive actors such as fintech. It has created a new digital asset unit (DAU) within its global division for corporate and institutional clients (SCIB) that will seek to design products within the scope of this technology that uses cryptographic encryption, with it expected to be available to customers worldwide.
More and more people are interested in and demand an offer of products related to the world of cryptocurrencies, so the bank reaffirms its clear commitment not to be left behind in the race. It wants to launch new products within the world of digital assets throughout Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region and for this it studies the competition very closely. However, for the moment it prefers to have this catalog only in its SCIB business, specific for large customers who demand more complex solutions and a high value.
Aware that this journey can be complex in the face of the high uncertainty that exists around a business that is pursued by an element of great speculation and extreme volatility, the new unit is equipped with expert legal advice in the field. Regulatory support is key, as the commercialization of digital assets must be accompanied by the signing of contractual documents, as is the case with any other financial product.
Regulatory uncertainty, extreme volatility and the speculative component of these assets make it essential to have legal experts
The biggest obstacle is that the regulation is very incipient or is still practically non-existent. In Europe, for example, the market is looking forward to the approval of the regulation known as MiCA that will allow legal support, although its entry into force has tinges of delaying in time. Some countries are starting to create national standards while waiting for the arrival of European ones. In Spain, the economic minister, Nadia Calviño, suffers from some concern about all this operation related to blockchain technology. For this reason, it has wanted to take a step forward urgently by granting powers to the main supervisors.
The Bank of Spain activated a register of providers of virtual currency exchange services for fiat currency and custody of electronic wallets or wallets, under the reform of the law on the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) recently updated its ‘gray list’ to include 53 firms linked to currencies as popularized as bitcoin or ethereum, although the body chaired by Rodrigo Buenaventura finalizes a circular that will allow it to control the advertising of these investments thanks to a reform approved at the beginning of 2021 in the Council of Ministers.
It is for this reason that to launch the project, Banco Santander will have to carry out a very meticulous and exhaustive follow-up to all the regulatory wave that is to come, both in Spain and in the multiple jurisdictions in which it plans to launch. When identifying obstacles that may affect the viability of some solutions, you should adapt and recalibrate your position. Cybersecurity is also a fundamental aspect in this new context.
None of the big banks in our country has yet dared to enter the world of crypto assets in a tangible way. Despite the fact that most monitor progress in this regard and value the enormous investment attraction, they maintain a position of prudence. For now, BBVA is the only one that has made some progress with the deployment of a commercial service of purchase-sale and custody of digital assets exclusively for private banking customers in Switzerland, allowing to manage transactions in bitcoins and have deposits with this cryptocurrency, but that is not a specific product as Banco Santander intends to develop. According to the criteria of