In what seems like a u-turn for the crypto-friendly nation, some of the top banks in Portugal are closing accounts of cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country.
Last week, Portugal’s biggest listed bank Banco Comercial Portugues closed the account of the Lisbon-based crypto trading platform CriptoLoja. Pedro Borges, CEO and founder of the exchange confirmed that another bank Banco Santander also initiated a similar move.
Besides, even two other smaller banks have closed CriptoLoja’s accounts without providing any official explanation. Alike CryptoLaja, two other crypto exchanges in Portugal have also faced the heat of banks closing their accounts.
Pedro Guimaraes, founder of crypto firm Mind the Coin said that they were unable to open new accounts after all of its accounts were shuttered earlier this year.
Regulators across the globe have been ramping up their efforts to address investors’ risks and money laundering issues. Banking giant Banco Commercial said that its duty is to inform authorities about “suspicious transactions” whenever they encounter them. Similarly, a Banco Santander executive said that the lender acts in “accordance with its perception of risk”.
CryptoLaja Claims No Wrongdoing
CryptoLaja chief Pedro Borges said that they have always informed authorities of any suspicious transactions. Speaking to Bloomberg, 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”.
The recent move by the Portuguese banks has affected some of the top crypto exchanges in Portugal, which already have the central bank license. Because of its zero taxes on crypto gains, Portugal has recently become a haven for crypto firms and traders to set up a base. However, the recent move could be signaling a shift and toughening of the environment in Portugal’s crypto sector.
Pedro Guimaraes, founder of Mind the Coin 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.”