November 28, 2023

Three crypto companies in Portugal surprised by decision of major banks to close their accounts.

According to CriptoLoja CEO Pedro Borges, four banks, including Banco Comercial Português and Banco Santander, have closed the exchange’s bank accounts in recent weeks. The banks did not give any reason.

Additionally, Mind the Coin, another crypto company, struggled to open an account a few months after closing all of its other accounts. Competitor Luso Digital Assets suffered a similar fate this year.

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

Banks give vague reasons

In defense of the closure of the account of CriptoLoja, Banco Comercial he said that he is responsible for reporting suspicious account activity to the relevant authorities, which may affect the closure of specific accounts.

Banco Santander said account closures depend, among other factors, on the bank’s risk assessment of keeping the account open.

Borges’ company received the first license from the central bank to operate in Portugal. The company is now dependent on offshore accounts. He defended his company’s position, saying the exchange consistently reported suspicious activity.

Could Portugal follow in Nigeria’s footsteps?

60 percent of crypto exchanges in Portugal that hold licenses from the central bank have now been affected, which could mean a difficult future for the industry in the European country. Bison Bank became the first bank to receive regulatory approval to operate a crypto exchange and custodian in the country and the fifth exchange overall.

This comes after crypto fans migrated to the country during the Covid-19 pandemic, excited by the prospect of zero capital gains tax, except for professional traders, and mild weather.

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

Portugal could follow in the footsteps of Nigeria, which has long been considered the hub of crypto hubs in Africa. However, the Central Bank of Nigeria ordered a blanket shutdown of all cryptocurrency company accounts last year.

This path seems unlikely, given the creation of a working group of public and private institutions and individuals by the Portuguese government to help build a national strategy.

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