The Central Bank of Portugal, Banco de Portugal, has licensed two cryptocurrency exchanges, Criptoloja and Mind The Coin. The entity announced in an official statement that it recognized both the exchanges as “virtual asset service providers.”
These firms offer “exchange services between virtual assets and fiat currencies,” such as the euro. This is the first time that an exchange has been licensed to operate since a new law governing cryptocurrency trading platforms went into effect earlier this year.
According to sector experts interviewed by Dinheiro Vivo, a local newspaper, nine months is an “eternity” in financial markets, and even more so in the cryptocurrency sector. At the end of September, each bitcoin, the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency, was worth 9,151 euros. It was quoted yesterday at 31,590 euros, but by mid-April, it had already reached an all-time high, surpassing the level of 50,000 euros.
It means that companies that are prevented from operating in Portugal because their registration has not yet been approved, have lost the boom that the cryptocurrency market has seen in recent months.
Criptoloja who plans to launch operations in the next couple of weeks, first filed for approval on Sept. 29, 2020, the company’s CEO Pedro Borges told CoinDesk that,
It was a long way. Being the first regulated exchange in Portugal means a lot.
Criptoloja will seek to bring together Portuguese people who want to invest in cryptocurrencies but is hesitant to open accounts with foreign exchanges.
In April, a bank executive confirmed that Banco de Portugal had received five formal registration requests and a total of 60 informal contacts at the time. The companies describe the process and requirements for obtaining their registration as an “authentic ordeal,” with legal advice costing tens of thousands of euros.
Companies and the APBC – Portuguese Association of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies have criticized Banco de Portugal’s delay in response time.
Banco de Portugal has had the new responsibility of supervising virtual asset management companies in the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing since September 2020. Companies that provide “exchange services between virtual assets and fiat currencies or between one or more virtual assets” are included.
Companies that offer “virtual asset transfer services and services for the safekeeping or safekeeping and administration of virtual assets or instruments that allow the control, detainment, storage, or transfer of these assets, including private cryptographic keys” are now regulated.
Criptoloja is the first cryptocurrency broker in Portugal, with headquarters in Estoril and is owned by Smart Token Lda, whereas Mind The Coin, from Guimares & Matosa, Lda., with headquarters in Braga, is a company that removes barriers and other complex techniques that separate ordinary users from Blockchain technologies.
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