According to media reports, major Portuguese banks have begun to close or refuse to open accounts for cryptocurrency platforms such as exchanges. The move threatens to tarnish the country’s image as one of the most crypto-friendly destinations in Europe, a haven for bitcoin enthusiasts.
Portuguese crypto firms hit by bank account closures
Portugal, Europe’s leading crypto powerhouse, is in danger of losing its appeal to crypto businesses and talent working in the industry as some of its largest banks are currently closing the accounts of digital currency companies.
Last week, the country’s largest bank, Banco Comercial Portugues, and another large institution, Banco Santander, closed all accounts of Lisbon-based Criptoloja, Bloomberg reported, citing the co-founder and CEO of the exchange, Pedro Borges. The development follows the decision of two smaller banks to close the platform’s accounts.
In none of these cases, no official explanation was given, the crypto entrepreneur emphasized. Meanwhile, the state bank Caixa Geral de Depositos and based in Lisbon Big also began to reject or close accounts of cryptocurrency exchanges, Jornal de Negocios reported this week.
The report notes that at least two other crypto brokers have been affected by bank account closures this year. Mind the Coin has been unable to open an account for months, and rival Luso Digital Assets has closed some of its accounts, executives complained.
Cryptocurrency companies in Portugal are forced to open accounts outside the country
Anti-money laundering and “know your customer” rules are often the main reasons cited by lenders who refuse to work with crypto companies. Banco Comercial clarified that it is required to report suspicious transactions that may result in termination of banking services for some individuals. Banco Santander is acting “in line with its perception of risk,” a spokesman said.
“Now we have to rely on using accounts outside of Portugal to run the exchange,” admitted Pedro Borges, founder of Criptoloja. And this despite the fact that last year his company became the first to receive a license from the central bank. He noted that Criptoloja had always informed the authorities about suspicious transactions and followed all compliance procedures. Pedro Guimarães of Mind the Coin added:
Although there is no official explanation, some banks are simply telling us that they do not want to work with crypto companies. Starting a cryptocurrency business in Portugal is next to impossible.
Three out of five coin trading platforms authorized Bank of Portugal this year their accounts were closed. While it’s unclear if this trend is affecting other companies in the sector, it could be a sign of tightening conditions in Portugal, which has attracted crypto enthusiasts with its zero tax on cryptocurrency profits, affordable cost of living, and mild climate.
Do you expect the closure of bank accounts to affect other crypto companies in Portugal? Tell us in the comments section below.
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