Major Portuguese banks have started closing or refusing to open accounts for cryptocurrency platforms like exchanges, according to media reports. The move threatens to tarnish the country’s image as one of Europe’s most crypto destinations, a paradise for bitcoin enthusiasts.
Portuguese crypto companies affected by bank account closures
Portugal, one of the major European crypto hubs, is at risk of losing its appeal to crypto firms and the talent working in the industry, as some of its largest banks are now closing accounts of companies that deal in digital currencies.
Last week, the country’s largest listed bank, Banco Comercial Portugués, and another major institution, Banco Santander, closed all accounts of Lisbon-based Criptoloja, Bloomberg reported, citing the exchange’s co-founder and CEO. Pedro Borges. The development follows the decision of two smaller banks to close platform accounts.
No official explanation was provided in any of these cases, the crypto entrepreneur emphasized. Meanwhile, state-owned bank Caixa Geral de Depositos and Lisbon-based BiG have also started to refuse or close cryptocurrency exchange accounts, Jornal de Negocios revealed this week.
At least two other cryptocurrency brokers have been affected by bank account closures this year, the report notes. Mind the Coin has been unable to open an account for months, and rival Luso Digital Assets closed some of its accounts, its executives complained.
Portugal Crypto Firms Forced to Open Accounts Outside the Country
Anti-money laundering and know-your-customer regulations are often the top reasons cited by lenders refusing to work with crypto companies. The Commercial Bank explained that it is obliged to report suspicious operations that may lead to the termination of the banking services of some entities. Banco Santander acts “according to its perception of risk,” a representative said.
“Now we have to rely on using accounts outside of Portugal to run the exchange,” admitted Criptoloja founder Pedro Borges. This is despite the fact that his company became the first to obtain a license from the central bank last year. Criptoloja has always reported suspicious transactions to authorities and has followed all compliance procedures, he noted. Pedro Guimaraes of Mind the Coin added:
While there is no official explanation, some banks simply tell us that they don’t want to work with cryptocurrency companies. It is almost impossible to start a cryptocurrency business in Portugal at the moment.
Three of the five currency trading platforms authorized by the Bank of Portugal had their accounts closed this year. While it is unclear if the trend is affecting other companies in the sector, it could be a sign of an increasingly harsh environment in Portugal, which has attracted crypto enthusiasts with its zero percent tax on profits from cryptocurrencies. cryptocurrencies, affordable costs of living, and a mild climate.
Do you expect bank account closures to affect other crypto businesses in Portugal? Tell us in the comments section below.
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