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Portugal: First Crypto License to a Bank

As known as a crypto investment heaven because of its taxation advantages, Portugal continues to provide incentives for its citizens and businesses. Several payment firms, crypto exchanges, and financial institutions are granted a license to provide services in this industry. 

On March 14, Banco de Portugal, the Central Bank of Portugal, announced that Bison Bank, a financial institution belonging to a Chinese private equity group based in Hong Kong, has been granted a license to be a Virtual Asset Service Provider (the “VASP”) for providing services such as crypto custodian and trading. Banco de Portugal has already granted the VASP licenses to on-chain payment firms and cryptocurrency exchanges. It is the first time that such a license has been given to a bank. The authorized bank is going to establish a division for providing services as a virtual asset exchange. 1

Other Granted Licenses

Utrust, an on-chain payment firm, was allowed to provide services in the European Union since it had already held a crypto service provider license in Estonia. However, the company which Elrond acquired in January, wanted to provide services with a new license granted by the central bank, as it would be more reliable for the customers and business partners. In March, Utrust received full all-categories approval from the Banco de Portugal, which allows providing exchange services, transferring virtual assets, and safekeeping services.2

In the summer of 2021, Banco de Portugal granted the VASP license for the first time to two cryptocurrency exchanges, Critoloja and Mind the Coin. Pedro Borges, CEO of Criptoloja, mentioned that the approval lasted almost nine months, starting from filing in September 2020.  He stated that the company seeks to bring citizens together who are eager to invest in cryptocurrencies and trust in local exchanges. Borges further mentioned that the company also seeks to provide services for people with different profiles and plans to promote the company’s operations in this manner.3

Banco de Portugal has also granted a license to Luso Digital Assets, as a crypto exchange registered in different countries, including some EU member states.4

What’s Next?

These developments have led many organizations in Portugal to apply for a license to provide services in the crypto industry. It is known that five official registration requests and 60 informal contacts were received by the Banco de Portugal in April.5 Considering these developments, it is anticipated that there will be many more similar applications in Portugal in the near future.

As Vircon Legal, we'll keep you updated regarding the crypto-related news in Portugal and other developments about blockchain.  

  1. https://www.coindesk.com/business/2022/04/14/central-bank-of-portugal-grants-countrys-first-crypto-license-to-a-bank/ (Accessed on: 09.05.2022).
  2. https://www.coindesk.com/business/2022/03/16/crypto-payments-firm-utrust-receives-operating-license-from-central-bank-of-portugal/ (Accessed on: 09.05.2022).
  3. https://www.coindesk.com/markets/2021/06/18/portugal-grants-first-crypto-exchanges-operating-licenses/ (Accessed on: 09.05.2022).
  4. https://www.coindesk.com/markets/2021/06/18/portugal-grants-first-crypto-exchanges-operating-licenses/ (Accessed on: 09.05.2022).
  5. https://www.coindesk.com/markets/2021/06/18/portugal-grants-first-crypto-exchanges-operating-licenses/(Accessed on: 09.05.2022).