Major Portuguese banks have started closing or refusing to open accounts for cryptocurrency platforms such as exchanges, according to media reports. The move threatens to tarnish the country’s image as one of Europe’s most crypto-friendly destinations, a haven for bitcoin enthusiasts.
Anti-money laundering and know-your-customer rules are often the main reasons cited by lenders who refuse to work with crypto companies. Banco Comercial explained that it’s obliged to report suspicious transactions which may lead to termination of banking services for some entities. Banco Santander acts “in accordance with its perception of risk,” a representative said.
“We now have to rely on using accounts outside Portugal to run the exchange,” Criptoloja’s founder Pedro Borges admitted. That’s despite his company becoming the first to obtain a license from the central bank last year. Criptoloja has always informed authorities of suspicious operations and followed all compliance procedures, he pointed out. Mind the Coin’s Pedro Guimaraes added:
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.