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The Banco de Portugal, the competent authority responsible for registering virtual asset service providers in Portugal, has granted a license to Bison Bank to act as the first crypto bank in the country.
Per Portuguese media outlet Sapo, the bank has received authorization to launch Bison Digital Assets, the specific company which will conduct custodial and exchange services of cryptocurrencies.
Customers will reportedly be offered a “new and broader set of products and services that, in line with market demand trends in this new segment, match their global needs present in financial and virtual assets,” per Sapo.
Bison Digital Assets will also reportedly target high net worth institutional investors—however, the company has not yet disclosed which cryptocurrencies it will offer services for.
Under regulation by the Banco de Portugal, Bison Digital Assets will be supervised on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing grounds. The regulator does not extend supervision to prudential or market conduct areas for crypto service providers.
While this is the first crypto bank to make landfall in Portugal, this is not the first time the European country has dabbled with the crypto industry.
Crypto and Portugal
Portugal has one of the tax-friendliest regimes in the world—when it comes to crypto.
Proceeds from the sale of cryptocurrencies have been exempt from taxation since 2018. Traditional investment income—which currently does not capture cryptocurrency investment income—is taxed at over 20%.
Businesses that accept crypto, however, are still liable to income tax.
In recent months, Portugal has also been center stage for some of the biggest crypto-related events, including the Solana Breakpoint Conference in November 2021.
Portugal’s growing crypto scene earned Lisbon—the capital city—a spot on Decrypt’s 15 Most Influential Crypto Cities in the World for 2021.