Crypto Winter chills on Portuguese exchange as local banks close accounts

Three Crypto Firms in Portugal Shocked by Major Bank’s Decision to Close Accounts.

According to CriptoLoja CEO Pedro Borges, four banks, including Banco Comercial Português and Banco Santander, have closed bank accounts at the exchange in the past few weeks. The bank did not provide any reason.

Additionally, another cryptocurrency firm, Mind the Coin, struggled to open accounts within months after all of its other accounts were closed. Rival Luso Digital Assets suffered a similar fate this year.

Ironically, on August 29, 2022, Banco Santander Brazil, owned by Spanish giant Banco Santander, announced the launch of new cryptocurrency-related products to retail and institutional investors.

Banks provide unknown reasons

Banco Comercial closed CriptoLoja’s account to protect it Say It is responsible for reporting suspicious account activity to the appropriate authorities, which may affect the closure of specific accounts.

Among other factors, Banco Santander said, closing the account depends on the bank’s risk assessment of keeping the account open.

Borges’ company received the central bank’s first license to operate in Portugal. The company now relies on offshore accounts. He defended the company’s position, saying the exchange has been reporting suspicious activity.

Can Portugal follow in Nigeria’s footsteps?

60% of Portugal’s cryptocurrency exchanges with central bank licenses are now affected, which could mean a challenging future for the industry in the European country. Bison Bank became the first bank and the fifth to receive regulatory approval to operate a cryptocurrency exchange and custody company in the country.

This comes after cryptocurrency enthusiasts relocated to the country during the Covid-19 pandemic, excited about the prospect of zero tax on capital gains, save for professional traders and mild weather.

Lenders Caixa Geral de Depositos and BiG have also closed or rejected applications to open new accounts, Jornal de Negocios reported Wednesday.

Portugal could follow in the footsteps of Nigeria, which has long been considered a hub for Africa’s cryptocurrency hub. However, the Central Bank of Nigeria last year ordered the complete closure of all cryptocurrency company accounts.

Given that the Portuguese government has created a working group of public and private institutions and individuals to help develop a national strategy, this path seems unlikely.

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