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The crypto industry has seen a sharp rise in adoption over the last few years. A number of countries has turned to cryptocurrencies to try and avoid sanctions, while some have even adopted digital payments, such as El Salvador, which accepted Bitcoin as legal tender, or Ukraine, which legalized BTC to start getting crypto donations for its army and fight against the invading Russia.
Countries are finding reasons or excuses to open their doors to the crypto industry one after another, often through small steps with great consequences. One example of that was just seen in Portugal, as the country’s central bank finally gave its permission to one of the country’s local banks to start working with the crypto industry.
Portugal gets its first crypto custodian among the banks
According to the recent reports, Portugal’s Bison Bank became the first authorized bank to get a crypto license from Portugal’s central bank. Banco de Portugal, the country’s central bank, shared the announcement regarding the new move this Thursday, revealing that Bison Bank will develop a new division for dealing with the crypto industry. This new, special business division will be known as the Bison Digital Assets.
Its purpose will be to operate as a virtual asset exchange. This will also make it the first entity in Portugal to be owned by an official bank, authorized by a central bank, and a division dealing with cryptocurrencies, offering custody and trading services.
On top of that, Bison Bank is also an institution that offers services such as wealth management, depositary and investment banking — available for individual and institutional clients alike — and more. The bank is actually owned by a Chinese private capital group based in Hong Kong.
Portugal opening to digital currencies?
Portugal’s central bank’s decision to grant the licenses to Bison Bank is not that surprising given that there were past activities and signals pointing toward Portugal warming up to crypto. For example, back in March of this year, the central bank granted the first full all-categories VASP license to a Portugal-based on-chain crypto payments firm, Ultrust. This was a piece of big news at the time.
Before that, in June 2021, Banco de Portugal also granted trading licenses to two digital currency exchanges — Mind The Coin and Criptoloja. The licenses allowed the platform to operate as VASPs. Finally, the central bank also granted an additional license to another platform called Luso Digital Asset.
All of this signaled that Portugal is slowly getting more and more comfortable with the idea of the crypto industry, and now that its first financial institution became a licensed crypto trading/custody service, it is only a matter of time before institutional investors of Portugal rush to enter the crypto industry through the bank. This will, in turn, attract other banks, and more crypto and retail investors, continuing to push adoption in Portugal.