The Central Bank asked the banks to send it information about their clients who carry out operations with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies or who have accounts in those assets. The decision, which was known today through social networks, was confirmed to Infobae by sources from the monetary authority, who explained that the measure is part of an evaluation that the BCRA is doing to determine if greater regulations apply to the cryptoassets market.
According to a note sent by an association of banks to its associated entities, the BCRA enabled an email box for financial entities to send “information that allows identifying customers who have accounts for holding crypto assets or who have declared or are known to carry out purchase and / or sale cooperation and / or management of payments through / of crypto assets “.
The request for information is motivated by the fact that the BCRA has “Surveillance functions of payment systems” and for that reason it asks for those data “Within the framework of the study” about the “Specific rules on the matter”.
In this way, the bank is asked to inform each client of data such as CUIT, address, number and type of account and also the names of those authorized to use it. The order covers accounts to receive or send money transfers intended for operations with crypto assets.
According to BCRA sources, some financial entities consulted the monetary authority on regulations for operating with cryptocurrencies. For this reason, the Central areas that deal with financial regulation “are studying whether any regulation is necessary.”
“As part of the process, the banks were consulted to find out the volume and depth of the use or purchase of crypto assets. It is a common practice to ask banks for information on different topics of interest before advancing in the elaboration of regulations ”, they added in the BCRA.
It should be noted that cryptocurrencies were already present in the regulations of the Central Bank, in particular in the controversial Communication A7030. This regulation, sanctioned in May 2020 and modified on several occasions, is the one that established the harsh restrictions for importers to access dollars, among many other regulations of the stocks.
Among other requirements, the BCRA ruled at that time that in order to buy dollars to pay for imports, companies had to submit a sworn statement stating that “they do not have available liquid foreign assets.” Among those assets, mainly referring to dollar deposits abroad, the BCRA had already included cryptocurrencies.
“It is a common practice to ask banks for information on different topics of interest before advancing in the elaboration of regulations,” they explained in the Central
The request for information, in principle, does not seem to distinguish between the use of Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies by a company to bypass the numerous exchange regulations that exist in Argentina (which would seem to be the objective of the A7030) and its use as form of savings in the retail field. Permanently, digital wallets and apps are appearing in the financial market to buy, make payments and transfer all kinds of cryptocurrencies, for all kinds of customers. In order to comply with the BCRA’s request, banks must register all that intense movement deployed through “decentralized” assets, that is, they are not issued by a government authority as is the case with conventional currencies.
Notwithstanding the alerts on the risk of excessive regulation, some experts in the cryptoassets market advanced their agreement with the Central Bank monitoring some aspects of the activity and they considered it to be expected, given that the money that reaches the “exchange” is sent from bank accounts.
“The global phenomenon of cryptocurrencies, together with its benefits and potential risks for economic systems, is something that is currently being debated in all global organizations and forums. Since the genesis of all financial regulators must be evidence-based decisions, the study and correct monitoring of the crypto world becomes fundamental, just as the BCRA would be doing, “he said. Ignacio Carballo, Director of the Fintech Ecosystem of the Universidad Católica Argentina.
Cryptocurrencies show strong price growth. Bitcoin, the most popular of them, doubled in price so far this year: it closed 2020 near USD 27,000 and today it exceeds USD 57,000. In addition to being an alternative for savings, the major global players in the world of payment methods (Visa, PayPal, Mastercard and many others) are also adding them to their products, helping to spread their use.