A Portuguese bank Banco Santander Totta which is a branch of the Spanish bank Santander has been reported to be stopping all Bitcoin related transactions. The report which was published by ECO which is a local publication indicates that the bank has been blocking transactions from various exchanges. The bank is said to be giving an excuse that the exchanges are transacting on non-regulated financial products.
In a reply email by Santander Totta after a client complaint that he was not able to transfer funds from Coinbase the bank indicated that Coinbase is a company that deals with digital currencies and that the bank does not transact operations that relate to digital currencies that are not regulated. This was an indication that clients transactions with cryptocurrency exchange companies cannot go through.
According to ECO there is an internal directive in the bank to block transfers from Coinbase. But after follow up Coinbase is not the only exchange company Santander Totta is refusing to process its transactions. There was also a complaint by some Bitstamp users that their transactions could not go through in the bank. In Bitstamp’s reply the bank actually stated that it was not allowing transactions that originate from Bitcoin.
The bank seems to choose the exchange companies they want to work with since it has been reported that transactions from Kraken which is also an exchange company are being processed by the bank. People have however developed a mechanism of omitting the recipient’s name so that their transactions can be processed.
Portugal has had problems with digital currencies in the past. The Bank of Portugal had in the past indicated that Bitcoin is not a legal tender in that country because there is no authority controlling it. Even with this move there are several exchange companies in the European Union that Portugal authorizes like Coinbase.
In our attempt to gather more information, we contacted the central bank, but they just maintained that Bitcoin did not have a control point and the fact that it’s not regulated there is no need for cryptocurrency related business that needs to register with the financial institution. In our attempt to gather more information, we contacted the central bank, but they just maintained that Bitcoin did not have a control point and the fact that it’s not regulated there is no need for cryptocurrency related business that needs to register with the financial institution. Banks like Banko CTT, Caixa Geral de Depositos, and Novo Banco are allowing crypto transfers.
There others that did not comment on the matter like BPI and Montepio. Despite them not commenting users have revealed that no transactions have been blocked. Portugal has been trying to tax Bitcoin, despite the lack of regulations.