Banks in Portugal are closing the accounts of crypto exchanges in what seems to be a u-turn in the country’s pro-crypto policies, Bloomberg News reported on August 3.
One of the biggest exchanges in the country, CriptoLoja, saw its accounts with two banks, Banco Santander and Banco Comercial Portugues, closed last week.
Before that, other smaller banks in the country had closed the exchange’s accounts without explaining the decision.
Bloomberg reported that Banco Commercial said it has the duty of notifying authorities about any “suspicious transactions,” which may lead to the closure and termination of some relationships.
But CriptoLoja’s CEO Pedro Borges claimed that the firm’s operation had followed “all the compliance and reporting procedures,” making the closure of accounts suspicious.
Borges revealed that the firm has relied on its account outside Portugal to run the exchange.
CriptoLoja is the first licensed crypto exchange in Portugal.
Other exchanges suffer a similar fate
Two other licensed crypto exchanges in the country have experienced a similar fate to CriptoLoja.
Mind the Coin had all its accounts in the country shut earlier this year and has been unable to open new ones since then.
The exchange’s founder Pedro Guimaraes said:
While there is no official explanation, some banks just tell us they don’t want to work with crypto companies.
The chief product officer of Luso Digital Assets, Ricardo Filipe, also confirmed that some of the company’s bank accounts had been closed.
State banks like Caixa Geral de Depositos were also reported to have closed down crypto exchange accounts.
What does the account closure mean?
Closure of crypto-related accounts is nothing new in countries with hostile crypto policies.
Several crypto-related accounts have been shut down in countries like Nigeria without reason.
The development, however, is strange considering Portugal has marketed itself as a crypto-friendly nation in the past.
Meanwhile, reports have revealed that the Portuguese Minister of Finance Fernando Medina said crypto assets would soon be subject to taxation in the country –negating its previous zero taxation policy on capital gains.