Portugal’s central bank is currently reviewing 12 applications from companies that want to provide crypto-related services in the country. The applications are pending decision amid recent reports that some commercial banks are closing the accounts of already approved operators.
Binance Among Cryptocurrency Platforms Seeking Authorization in Portugal
Portugal’s monetary authority is currently evaluating applications submitted by 12 entities that intend to offer Portuguese clients services for virtual assets, Dinheiro Vivo disclosed. Crypto businesses need a license from the Banco de Portugal (BoP) to operate in the country, still considered one of the most crypto-friendly jurisdictions in Europe.
Final decisions on the applications are expected by the end of the year. Unless the regulator asks companies to provide additional information, in which case the deadline could be extended to 2023, the English-language portal Portugal News reported, citing the business newspaper.
Among the candidates to enter the Portuguese crypto market is Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. The digital currency trading platform has started recruiting talent in the country, after posting six vacancies on its Portuguese page, although it is still awaiting the green light from the BoP.
Criptoloja, Mind the Coin, Digital Luso, Utrust and Bison Digital Assets are the five crypto brokers that already operate in Portugal. The new applications indicate that the country’s crypto industry is growing and is expected to reach a total of 17 registered exchanges soon.
At the same time, crypto companies also face some challenges. A report recently revealed that major Portuguese banks are closing their accounts or refusing to open new ones, hampering normal business activities in the sector.
According to an article published by Jornal de Negócios and quoted by Bloomberg, the banks Caixa Geral de Depósitos, BCP, Santander, Abanca and BiG are closing the accounts of four of the five digital asset managers.
In a statement, the Bank of Portugal said it was monitoring the issue, but also stressed that its competences, with regard to crypto assets, do not extend to “areas that go beyond the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing”. The financial authority clarified:
The decision to open or maintain bank accounts depends, in these cases, on the risk management policies that each banking institution intends to undertake.
The situation may bring bad publicity to Portugal which has established itself as a crypto-friendly jurisdiction over the past few years. The EU member state has attracted many crypto enthusiasts with its zero percent tax on crypto winnings, affordable cost of living, and mild Mediterranean climate, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Do you think Portuguese banks will change their attitude towards crypto businesses if Banco de Portugal approves more operators in the sector? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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