Portuguese banks are shutting down crypto exchange accounts

Portuguese traditional banks are slowly closing crypto exchange accounts despite the regulatory approval from the government. The banks fear that crypto accounts might lead to a potential increase in money laundering.

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In many countries, the biggest reason for a crypto ban or mass crypto adoption is due to the threat of money laundering. Many governments are too lazy to set new regulations, while others are still implementing the traditional laws to regulate the industry.

In Portugal, crypto exchanges receive approval to operate and provide financial services to Portuguese citizens. However, traditional banks have the authority to close crypto exchange accounts if they want to.

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Just last week, Portugal-based crypto exchange CriptoLoja’s accounts were shut down by Banco Comercial Português and Banco Santander (SAN). Similarly, the accounts of Mind the Coin and Luso Digital Assets were also closed by the Portuguese banks to prevent them from holding any capital with them.

“It seems that banks do not trust their own regulator’s judgment on issuing such authorizations to operate. So it’s a mixture of banks being slow-moving, unprepared, afraid of money laundering, and preferring other low-hanging fruits in other sectors,”  says local lawyer João G. Gil Figueira.

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The crypto exchanges’ directors have openly criticized the banks for preventing them from opening accounts.

“This kind of nuisance, these kinds of measures that the banks are taking are not good for the country,”  says the CEO of CriptoLoja, Pedro Borges.