Portuguese Crypto Exchanges Hit with Bank Account Closures

After major banks shut down cryptocurrency trading accounts, crypto users in Portugal now face uncertainty

This is a huge blow considering that Portugal is one of Europe’s most crypto-friendly jurisdictions.

After speaking with some crypto market players in the area, Bloomberg media reported the matter Wednesday.

Last week, Banco Comercial Português, one of the largest private banks in the country, and Banco Santander, a global bank whose subsidiary branch runs in Portugal, closed bank accounts associated CriptoLoja, a Portuguese cryptocurrency exchange based in Lisbon.

Bloomberg media was informed by Pedro Borges, CriptoLoja’s co-founder, and chief executive.

Borges revealed further that the bank had been shut down after two smaller banks close accounts related to crypto firms in certain countries.

Another crypto agency called ‘Thoughts the Coin’ also has been unable to open an account for months after its bank accounts had been closed one year ago. Bloomberg was narrated by Pedro Guimaraes (the founder of crypto exchanges).

Ricardo Filipe, Chief Product Officer, said that Luso Digital Assets (a crypto trading platform in Portugal) had had some of their bank accounts closed over the last twelve month.

According to the report, the threat had affected more than two cryptocurrency exchanges in the country in the past twelve months.

In an email statement, Banco Comercial Português, the above-stated bank, clarified that it is its responsibility to inform relevant authorities every time it sees “suspicious transactions” and terminate accounts associated with such activities.

Meanwhile, A Banco Santander consultant also pointed out the bank acts in “accordance with its perception of risk”.

CryptoLaja CEO Pedro Borges stated that CryptoLaja always informs authorities of suspicious transactions.

“We now have to rely on using accounts outside Portugal to run the exchange. All the compliance and reporting procedures have been followed,” Borges said.

The new move by Portuguese banks has had an adverse effect on crypto exchanges operating in Portugal. They already have the central banking license.

Pedro Guimaraes, founder of Mind the Coin, also stated: “While there is no official explanation, some banks just tell us they don’t want to work with crypto companies. It’s almost impossible to start a crypto business in Portugal right now.”

Climate Change – Crypto-friendly

Portugal is one the most crypto-friendly nations in the world. In October 2021, Lisbon hosted an Ethereum conference. This country is among the most Bitcoin-friendly in Europe.

Portugal’s tax-free cryptocurrency regulations, as well as many other incentives, have attracted a lot of attention. This attracted investors, entrepreneurs, and digital nomads from all over the world to move to Portugal to trade cryptocurrencies, without having to pay taxes.

Banco de Portugal, the Central Bank of Portugal has granted licenses to crypto agencies including Mind The Coin and Criptoloja, which allows them to operate as cryptocurrency exchanges.

However, the recent move by Portuguese banks could signal a shift and toughen of the environment in Portugal’s crypto sector. Portugal’s government announced plans to tax crypto income in May.

Image source: Shutterstock

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