The Central Bank of Portugal is reviewing 12 applications submitted by companies that intend to provide cryptocurrency services in the country. Among them is the Binance exchange.
Final decisions on applications are expected by the end of this year, unless the regulator asks the companies to provide more information. In such a case, the deadline could be moved to 2023.
Among the contenders for obtaining a license is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance. While the company is still awaiting approval, it has already begun recruiting staff in the country by posting six job openings on its website.
Portugal is still considered one of the most favorable countries for doing business related to digital assets in Europe. Companies already approved include Mind the Coin, Cryptoloja, Digital Luso, Bison Digital Assets and Utrust.
Recently, however, major Portuguese banks Banco Comercial Portugues and Banco Santander, as well as two smaller local banks, have suspended several cryptocurrency exchanges, including CriptoLoja and Mind the Coin. This was probably due to the downturn in the cryptocurrency market.
The Bank of Portugal said it was monitoring the issue, however, its competence in relation to crypto assets does not extend to areas beyond the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing. Therefore, the decision to open or close bank accounts for crypto firms lies entirely with the banking institutions themselves.
Earlier, the Portuguese Congress rejected two bills aimed at taxing cryptocurrencies, which were presented by two left-wing parties Livre and Bloco.