According to reports, several banks in Portugal have started closing cryptocurrency exchange accounts due to “risk management” concerns. This suggests a shift in Portugal’s pro-crypto stance. According to reports, the central bank of the country gave the green light for financial institutions to take action.
CriptoLoja was the first cryptocurrency exchange in Portugal to be granted a license. It was closed by several of Portugal’s most prominent banks. A Bloomberg report states that at least four cryptocurrency exchanges in the country have had their accounts closed by BCP (Banco Comercial Portugues), Santander Bank and Caixa Geral De Depositos, BiG, and Abanca.
The Bank of Portugal has licensed all the exchanges, which regulates cryptocurrency trading platforms in Portugal. The three exchanges that were identified were Criptoloja and Mind The Coin, while Luso Digital Assets was the third. One of them requested that their names not be published on media platforms. Mario Centeno (head of the Bank of Portugal) was quoted as saying banks were free to do whatever they want, but that he would keep an eye on the situation.
The Bank of Portugal oversees exchanges and ensures that they combat money laundering and finance terrorism. It also works to prevent fraud. Bloomberg was told by BCP that it had the primary responsibility to notify competent authorities of any suspicious transactions. This could lead to the end of certain banking relationships.
Cointelegraph reached CryptoLoja (one of the affected cryptocurrency exchanges) for comment, but did not receive any response at press time. When a response is received, this article will be updated.
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These accounts were closed as a blow against Portugal’s crypto-friendly approach. Authorities had previously rejected two tax proposals that could have been applied for investors who make money with cryptocurrencies. The government and the financial sector recently showed an increase in interest in cryptocurrency regulation in line with other European Union countries.
Due to the perceived risk, crypto exchanges have struggled to obtain banking services around the world. According to Cointelegraph, Senator Elizabeth Warren of the United States is proposing a bill which would ban banks from providing cryptocurrency services.
Bitcoin entrepreneurs have flocked to the Iberian nation, especially from Ukraine fleeing crisis in their homeland. Before the conflict with Russia, around 27,000 Ukrainians lived within the Iberian nation. However, their numbers have risen to more than 52,000 making them the second largest foreign population, after Brazilians.