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Spain to tighten rules for crypto ads and keep eye on bogus influencers

Spain will tighten its rules regulating advertisements for cryptocurrencies to ensure the country's four million crypto investors are aware of the risks, Spain's stock market supervisor said Tuesday.

cryptocurrency spain
Crypto ads in must also include "information on risks in a prominent manner". Photo: NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP

Advertising of unregulated cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, has surged, particularly by social media influencers, drawing attention from regulators worldwide.

Under the label “stock-tok”, thousands of social media videos are now circulating online, with so-called ‘experts’ urging people to invest in cryptocurrency or buy their money-making course.

There are an estimated four million people in Spain who have invested in cryptocurrency, but the crypto phenomenon is especially grabbing the attention of young people between the ages of 25 and 30.

“It’s like telling a kid, ‘here’s a Ferrari, you can drive it a 200km/h, look how I do it’, without them even knowing how to drive,” Álvaro Huerta of online trading provider IG Group told Spanish broadcaster RTVE.

Under new rules that will come into place in February 2022 in Spain, ads for cryptocurrencies and other crypto assets must be “clear, balanced, impartial and non-misleading,” stock market regulator CNMV said in a statement.

They must also include “information on risks in a prominent manner,” it added.

Providers of crypto services must inform the regulator of ad campaigns aimed at 100,000 people or more with at least 10 days notice.

These rules also apply to promotional activity by any person advertising on behalf of third parties, such as social media influencers.

In November, the regulator scolded Spanish football star Andres Iniesta after he promoted the cryptocurrency exchange platform Binance on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

In a tweet sent to Iniesta, CNMV recommended that he be “thoroughly” informed about cryptocurrencies “before investing in them or recommending others to do so.”

Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile, and because of their global and decentralised nature, attributing a single cause for a rise or fall in their price is difficult.

China banned cryptocurrency transactions at the end of September.

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WOMEN'S RIGHTS

Spanish government divided over proposed menstruation leave bill

Talk of abortion policy reform and proposed menstrual leave has dominated Spanish discourse this week, but it’s also dividing Spain’s coalition government.

Spanish government divided over proposed menstruation leave bill

Spain’s PSOE-fronted coalition government recently outlined proposals that have dominated public discourse in the country.

But the legislation, which would allow women over the age of 16 to get abortions without the permission of their parents and introduce ‘menstruation leave’ for those suffering serious period pains, has not only divided Spanish society but the government itself.

The proposals would make Spain a leader in the Western world, and the first European Union member state to introduce menstrual leave, and changes to abortion law would overturn a 2015 law passed by the conservative People’s Party that forced women aged 16 and 17 to obtain parental consent.

The wide-ranging bill would also end VAT on menstrual products, increase the free distribution of them in schools, and allow between three and five days of leave each month for women who experience particularly painful periods.

READ MORE: What are Spain’s abortion laws for foreign residents and visitors?

Menstrual leave

Ángela Rodríguez, the Secretary of State for Equality, told Spanish newspaper El Periódico in March that “it’s important to be clear about what a painful period is – we’re not talking about slight discomfort, but about serious symptoms such as diarrhoea, fever and bad headaches.”

“When there’s a problem that can’t be solved medically, we think it’s very sensible to have temporary sick leave,” she added.

Cabinet politics

The proposals are slated for approval in cabinet next week, and judging by reports in the Spanish media this week, it is far from reaching a consensus. It is believed the intra-cabinet tensions stem not from the changes to abortion and contraception accessibility, but rather the proposed menstrual leave.

The junior coalition partner in government, Podemos, largely supports the bill, but it is believed some in the PSOE ranks are more sceptical about the symbolism and employment effects of the proposed period pain policy.

Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, said this week: “Let me repeat it very clearly: this government believes and is absolutely committed to gender equality and we will never adopt measures that may result in a stigmatisation of women.”

Yet Second Vice President and Minister of Labour, Yolanda Díaz, who is viewed as further to the left than President Pedro Sánchez and other PSOE cabinet ministers, is reportedly “absolutely in favour” of the measure to reform Spain’s “deeply masculinised” labour market.

Sources in the Spanish media have this week also reported that some PSOE cabinet ministers feel the proposed paid leave not only plays up to stereotypes of women, or stigmatises them, like Calviño says, but also places them at a disadvantage in the world of work.

Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, stated that while the government should seek to improve women’s employment protections, it should also seek to boost their participation in the labour market under “better conditions.”

In that vein, some feel menstrual leave could be used a form of of employment discrimination similarly to how pregnancy has been historically, and the policy would, in that sense, actually be more regressive than progressive in enshrining women’s workplace rights. 

READ MORE: Spain eyes free contraception for under-25’s

Trade unions

Trade unions are also sceptical of the menstrual leave legislation. Cristina Antoñanzas, deputy secretary of UGT, one of Spain’s largest trade unions, has echoed those in the cabinet who feel the proposals could “stigmatise women.” She added that “it does women a disservice.”

Public opinion

A survey run by INTIMINA found that 67 percent of Spanish women are in favour of regulating menstrual leave, but also that 75 percent fear it is “a double-edged sword” that could generate labor discrimination.

The survey also found that 88 percent of women who suffer from disabling and frequent period pain have gone to work despite it. Seventy-one percent admitted that they have normalised working with pain.

Cabinet showdown

The proposed menstrual leave policy will be debated in cabinet next week when the Council of Ministers debates and approves the broader abortion and contraception reforms. According to sources in the Spanish media, and many cabinet ministers themselves, it seems a consensus on menstruation leave is a long way off.




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