Several Crypto Firms Await License as Portugal Banks Close Accounts
The Monetary Authority in Portugal has been evaluating requests from more than a dozen entities looking to offer Portuguese clients its services for virtual assets. The crypto firms need a license from Banco de Portugal (BdP) to operate in the country.
Final decisions for the same shall arrive by the end of the year. The recent turn of events is rather unusual for the crypto-friendly nation of Portugal. Among the recent applicants awaiting the license is world’s largest crypto trading platform Binance. Mind the Coin, Criptoloja, Digital Luso, Utrust, and Bison Digital Assets are the other five crypto brokers looking to set up their base in Portugal.
However, some of the latest reports show that the biggest banks in Portugal have been closing the accounts of crypto exchanges operating in the nation. The country’s biggest public-listed bank - Banco Comercial Portugues - and Spanish giant Banco Santander shutdown all the accounts of Lisbon-based CriptoLoja last week. Two other smaller banks also closed the company’s accounts before that without providing any official explanation.
Another crypto trading platform ‘Mind the Coin’ was unable to open an account with the banks for months in Portugal said company founder Pedro Guimaraes. One of the major concerns among banks to open accounts for crypto firms is the lack of AML and KYC standards.
In an emailed statement to Bloomberg, Banco Comercial said that it is their duty to inform competent authorities whenever they see any “suspicious transactions”. In a similar response, a Banco Santander representative said that the lenders act in “accordance with its perception of risk”. Besides, they also need to consider several other factors.
Commenting on the matter, CryptoLaja’s Borges said: “We now have to rely on using accounts outside Portugal to run the exchange. All the compliance and reporting procedures have been followed”. CryptoLaja was one of the first firms in Portugal to receive a license from the central bank.
Founder of Mind the Coin, Pedro Guimaraes said: “While there is no official explanation, some banks just tell us they don’t want to work with crypto companies. It’s almost impossible to start a crypto business in Portugal right now.”
However, the recent actions from Portugal banks have been affecting many more crypto exchanges looking to operate in the country. This could also suggest a toughening of environment in Portugal’s digital assets sector.