Some of the leading banks in Portugal, including Banco Comercial Portugues and Banco Santander, have reportedly shut down all of CriptoLoja’s accounts last week. The company is the first cryptocurrency exchange that received a license to operate in the country.
Prior to that, Portugal’s authorities have displayed a predominantly crypto-friendly stance, rejecting two tax proposals that could have been applied to investors profiting from digital assets.
Are the Tides Turning?
According to a coverage by Bloomberg, several cryptocurrency platforms in Portugal have to cope with bank-related issues. A few days ago, the nation’s banking giants – Banco Comercial Portugues and Banco Santander – closed all of CriptoLoja’s accounts, while two smaller banks also initiated the same move. None of the companies provided an official explanation why they decided to go anti-crypto.
Apart from CriptoLoja, other exchanges, such as Mind the Coin, also faced the same problems. Earlier in 2022, the authorities halted the latter, and since then, it has been unable to open accounts for clients.
Ricardo Filipe – Chief Product Officer of Luso Digital Assets – said the regulators closed some of his firm’s accounts, too.
Anti-money laundering policies and preventing the employment of digital currencies in criminal actions could be a reason for the banks’ move. In an emailed statement, Banco Comercial explained it takes measures every time it detects “suspicious transactions.”
Pedro Borges – CEO and Co-Founder of CriptoLoja – said his exchange now has to rely on “using accounts outside Portugal to run” its operations.
“All the compliance and reporting procedures have been followed,” he outlined.
In the past several months, Portugal emerged as a center of the cryptocurrency industry. The domestic authorities treat digital currencies the same way as other currencies, not just assets. It is also one of the few countries on the Old Continent where cryptocurrency transactions are not a subject of taxation.
This crypto-friendly attitude has attracted many residents of Ukraine to escape their war-torn nation and seek refuge in Portugal. Before the military conflict with Russia, around 27,000 Ukrainians were residing in the Iberian country, while now their number surged to over 52,000, becoming the second-largest foreigner community after Brazilians.
Crypto Tax Bills Rejected
Earlier this year, two of the left-wing parties in Portugal – Livre and Bloco de Esquerda – suggested that the cryptocurrency taxation policy should pass through certain amendments. Specifically, they insisted on applying taxes on individuals who earn profits of over $5,100 per year from dealing with digital assets.
Two months ago, Portugal’s Congress rejected those proposals. It is worth mentioning, though, that the ruling government of the nation – the Socialist Party – also seeks to implement some changes in that field. It remains unknown what it will propose and whether Congress will approve it.