According to a report by Dinheiro Vivo, Banco de Portugal (BdP) has 12 requests for authorization of activity in services with virtual assets (aka crypto assets and cryptocurrencies) pending decision. That is, there are 12 digital asset brokers awaiting a license from the BdP to develop operations in Portugal.
The BdP's final decisions should be known by the end of the year, unless the supervisor requests additional data from the companies, which would extend the deadlines to 2023.
Currently, five companies operate in Portugal: Criptoloja, Mind The Coin; Digital Luso; Utrust; Bison Digital Assets. If the BdP accepts all the requests still under review, the number of cryptocurrency exchanges will increase from five to 17 in Portugal.
Of the companies that intend to enter the national market, there is one entity that stands out: Binance. Considered the largest digital asset exchange, Binance formulated a license application in July. Although still waiting for a final decision, the broker is already recruiting in the country, with six vacancies open and advertised on its platform for Portugal.
There are signs that the national virtual assets sector is developing and will grow soon. However, cryptocurrency companies are facing challenges to normal activity, as major banks are blocking access to bank accounts, which makes it difficult to manage operations.
As reported by Jornal de Negócios, on Wednesday, the banks Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD), BCP, Santander, Abanca and BiG are either closing bank accounts of four of the five crypto asset managers or refusing to open accounts to companies that own digital asset platforms.
The BdP guarantees that it is monitoring the issue, but points out that the competences, in terms of crypto-assets, do not extend to "areas that go beyond the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism".
In other words, "the decision to open or maintain bank accounts depends, in these cases, on the risk management policies that each banking institution intends to undertake". Thus, cryptocurrency companies are not protected from accessing bank accounts, such as a credit institution or payments.