In this article, the Corporate and Commercial Department of Belzuz Abogados S.L.P. – Sucursal em Portugal, provides an overview of the national and European legal framework in force for the activity of cryptocurrency in Portugal, including in relation to its issuance and transference.
The Law n. º 58/2020, of August 31st has transposed to Portugal the fifth European Anti-Money Laundering Directive (commonly known as the “V AML Directive”) of the European Parliament and of the Council of May 30 2018, on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, whereas further activities, sectors and services have been amended to the ranged of obliged entities, such as the providers engaged with virtual currencies services: (i) exchange services between virtual assets and fiat currencies or between one or more virtual assets; (ii) virtual asset transfer services; (iii) guarding services and administration of virtual assets or instruments that allow controlling, holding, storing or transferring the said assets, including private cryptographic keys.
Considering the amendment of the above-mentioned entities on the range of obliged entities, these services providers must now comply with all the obligations, duties and due diligences (identification, examination, communication, refusal and abstention, among others) related to their services, in the scope of the AML provisions.
The same legislation has determined that the Bank of Portugal shall be the competent authority for the activity registration procedures (until the enforcement of the Law n. º 58/2020, of August 31st, the activity of issuance and transference of cryptocurrencies was not regulated nor supervised by Bank of Portugal nor any other national or European authority in the financial system, having only a published a number of guidelines addressed to some institutions related to the cryptocurrency matters).
In the use of its recent authority, the Bank of Portugal has drafted a notice with the regulation project that aims to regulate the registration procedures for all entities that provide services related to cryptocurrency, subject to public consultation until the December 10th, 2020 (commonly known as “Bank of Portugal’s Public Consultation nr. º 5/2020”).
The explanatory note issued by the Bank of Portugal and attached to the regulation projects also determinates that, in order to maintain their activity, the entities that already provide any of the foreseen cryptocurrency services in national territory, must be registered by the Bank of Portugal.
At last, and even though the public consultation deadline has already expired, the Bank of Portugal has not – so far – published its report nor the effective regulation.
The Corporate and Commercial Department of Belzuz Abogados S.L.P. – Branch in Portugal has lawyers who have been following the regulation process and providing legal assistance to cryptocurrency providers, being fully available to advise the said entities (or potential entities) through the contacts available on our website.
Belzuz Abogados SLP
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