“Crypto-friendly” banks in Portugal have started deactivating accounts of digital currency exchanges, which could be a sign of things to come.
Banking giant Banco Comercial Portugues, the largest publicly traded bank in Portugal, terminated all of the accounts of the Lisbon-based crypto trading platform CriptoLoja last week. The CEO and founder of the exchange, Pedro Borges, acknowledged that another bank, Banco Santander, did the same thing.
Borges added that the lenders did not issue an official statement.
Banco Comercial Portugues. Image: Wikimedia Commnons
Digital Currency Exchanges Taking A Hit
Bank account closures have struck at least two other digital currency exchanges in Portugal this year.
Pedro Guimaraes, the founder of cryptocurrency startup Mind the Coin, says the company was unable to register an account for months after all of its accounts in Portugal were canceled earlier this year.
According to Chief Product Officer Ricardo Filipe, rival Luso Digital Assets also terminated some of its accounts in Portugal this year.
Based on a poll conducted by the statistics website Triple A, over 240,000 people, or 2.37 percent of Portugal’s total population, presently own digital currency
Portugal is quickly emerging as the top destination for virtual asset enthusiasts, especially long-term investors and retail traders.
The absence of taxation on crypto revenues in the southern European nation is one of the primary reasons for the community’s interest for Portugal.
Portugal Draws Interest Of Crypto Advocates
Portugal developed as a destination for crypto aficionados during the COVID-19 pandemic due to its tax-free status on these types of assets, low-cost housing, and year-round good weather.
Banco Commercial stated that it is required to report any “suspect transactions” to the appropriate authorities. Similarly, a Banco Santander executive indicated that the bank adheres to its policies of “perception of danger.”
Some of the largest exchanges in Portugal, who already possess a license from the central bank, have been affected by the recent move by Portuguese banks.
According to Borges, they have always reported questionable transactions to authorities. In an interview with Bloomberg, he stated:
“We must now rely on accounts outside of Portugal to operate the exchange. All compliance and reporting protocols have been adhered to.”
On Thursday, Jornal de Negocios reported that state-owned Caixa Geral de Depositos and Lisbon-based BiG are among the lenders in the country cancelling accounts.
The new decision by the Portuguese government may signify a change and hardening of the crypto industry’s ecosystem.
Crypto total market cap at $1.06 trillion on the daily chart | Source: TradingView.com Featured image from Gulf Crypto, chart from TradingView.com