Several large Portuguese banks have closed the accounts of crypto exchanges that they have with them. The reason for this is stated to be concerns about “risk management”. Since Portugal’s central bank has given the green light for the closures, the question now arises whether this will be accompanied by a general change in the country’s open attitude.
According to Bloomberg, several major banks have already closed the accounts of CriptoLoja, which was the first crypto trading platform to receive official approval in Portugal. In addition, at least three other Portuguese crypto exchanges are to be affected by account closures at the banks BCP (Banco Comercial Portugues), Santander Bank, Caixa Geral de Depósitos, BiG and Abanca.
In addition to the CriptoLoja, the crypto exchanges Mind The Coin and Luso Digital Assets, as well as a fourth trading platform, which would like to remain unnamed, are also confronted with the sudden closures. Mário Centeno, the head of the Central Bank of Portugal, which is responsible for the approval of crypto companies, emphasizes in this context that the banks have freedom of choice in these cases, after all, the Central Bank wants to keep an eye on the situation.
According to Bloomberg, the likely reason for the closures is a lack of compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing requirements, which could possibly fall back on the banks. For example, banks would be obliged to report “suspicious transactions” to the competent authorities.
Portugal is actually considered one of the most open European countries in terms of crypto. Against the background of the recent adoption of the crypto regulatory projects of the European Union (EU) – which manifests itself in MiCA and ToFR – the question therefore arises whether the stricter approach of the Portuguese banks is anticipatory obedience to the new requirements or whether these are individual cases due to misconduct by the affected crypto exchanges. The new regulation, which is intended to provide more legal clarity in the European crypto industry, could initially mean new trouble for them.
Cointelegraph has reached out to CriptoLoja for comment, but has not yet received any feedback by the time of writing. This article will be updated as soon as there is a comment.