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A bank in Portugal has granted the country's first cryptocurrency

15-Apr-2022 By: Rohit Tripathi
A bank in Portugal h

A bank in Portugal has been granted the 

country's first cryptocurrency licence by the Portuguese regulator.

Bison Bank will offer digital asset services to high-net-worth people, making it the country's first financial institution to do so. Bison Bank, located in Portugal, has been granted authorization by the country's Central Bank (Banco de Portugal) to operate as a "virtual asset service provider" (VASP), making it the first bank in the country to do so. On Thursday, Banco de Portugal added: "Bison Digital Assets" as the country's fifth approved crypto exchange to its roster of virtual asset service providers. The company was founded to operate under Bison Bank, which is wholly owned by a Chinese private equity corporation located in Hong Kong, and would target high-net-worth consumers with its cryptocurrency capabilities. In April 2021, rules were enacted that subjected cryptocurrency exchanges to a licencing scheme run by the central bank. Later that year, in June, licences were issued to the exchanges Mind The Coin and Criptoloja, the country's first two VASPs. Trust received the first "all categories" VASP licence from the authority in March 2021, allowing the exchange to conduct crypto-to-crypto swaps, transfers to wallet addresses, and custody and storage of private keys in addition to offering a fiat on-ramp. Bison Bank has also received an all-category licence. Portugal has long been seen as a crypto-friendly country and a tax shelter for cryptocurrency. Because bitcoin is considered a means of payment or cash rather than an asset, there are no capital gains or personal income taxes on it unless it is an individual's entire income in Portugal. In April 2020, the country announced intentions to construct Technological Free Zones (ZLTs), regions where firms may test goods and services, with the country stating that blockchain technology will be tested as part of its digital transformation strategy. The Portuguese government stated in October 2021 that it was forming a working group comprised of public and private sector firms, as well as experts, to draught a National Blockchain Strategy. That committee has been researching how the technologies may be applied in the nation, as well as establishing legislative circumstances. The Portuguese administration anticipates that a draught of the plan will be revealed by the end of this month, with the final version being published in June 2022.

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