Central Bank of Portugal Grants Licenses to Crypto Exchanges

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In Brief
  • Criptoloja and Mind that Coin are the first exchanges to be granted operating licenses by Banco de Portugal.

  • Under the new license, both exchanges are now classified as Virtual Asset Service Providers.

  • The exchanges initially registered for the license in September 2020.

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Banco de Portugal has granted operating licenses to local cryptocurrency exchanges for the first time ever. 

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The central bank announced that the Portuguese exchanges Criptoloja and Mind the Coin were now classified as virtual assets service providers. They are currently the only two included on a list the bank issued on their website.

Banco de Portugal’s decision has been nine months in the making. Criptoloja reportedly made their initial registration back in September 2020.

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On Portuguese soil, the license permits Criptoloja and Mind the Coin to carry out exchange services between virtual assets and fiat currencies, as well as between different virtual assets. It also covers them for transfer services, safekeeping and administration for those assets. 

Europe embraces crypto exchanges

Portugal has been regarded in the past as one of the most crypto-friendly countries in Europe. Investor and blogger Jean Galea wrote in May that the country is “becoming a haven” for people involved in the crypto space. Cryptocurrency income remains exempt from VAT and capital gains taxes in the country, unless it comes from professional trading activity.

However, Portugal is not the only European nation to look on crypto exchanges and services with favor recently. 

At the end of May, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) awarded a Class 3 Virtual Financial Asset (VFA) License to XCoins, a leading exchange based in the country. At the time, Rob Frye, XCoins’ founder and CEO commented:

“Being one of the first cryptocurrency platforms to achieve this milestone means that we can keep paving the way for a more secure and regulated industry. Xcoins is leading the way as digital assets gain popularity worldwide.”

This is the second such license the MFSA has granted to a crypto exchange this year. The first ever crypto platform to receive a VFA License of the same class was Crypto.com. Gaining its license a few weeks before XCoins, the company called the milestone “a watershed moment for the cryptocurrency industry.”

In addition, Crypto.com made an application to the MFSA to become a licensed financial institution. However, while reportedly processing, the regulator’s decision is still not finalized. The Maltese authority did approve the platform’s application in principle in November 2020. 

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Dale Hurst is a journalist, presenter, and novelist. Before joining the Be In Crypto team, he was an editor and senior journalist at a news, lifestyle and human-interest magazine in the UK. Cryptocurrency was one of the first subjects he specialized in when first going freelance in 2018, reviewing exchanges and analysing lawsuits.

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