Portugal Consumer Watchdog Scolds Bank for Blocking Bitcoin-Related Transactions


Shortly after revealing a proposal to tax bitcoin investors to make it fair on traditional investors who have to deal with the government taking one-third of their earnings, Portuguese consumer watchdog DECO has stressed that the country’s banks have “no known legal basis” to block bitcoin-related transactions. As CCN recently reported, the Portuguese branch of Spanish bank Santander, Banco Santander Totta, is halting bitcoin-related transactions while claiming cryptocurrency exchanges are transacting in non-regulated financial products.

As reported, the bank is refusing to process transactions to and from popular exchanges like Coinbase and Bitstamp. Speaking to a client, an employee even revealed the existence of an internal directive to block transactions using Coinbase’s IBAN. In response, some of its clients changed banks, while others decided to call in DECO, the Portuguese consumer protection organization, to help them out.

Through an article on its website, DECO addressed the issue by making it clear Santander Totta, to the organization, “has no known legal basis” to support its move. The piece reads (roughly translated):

“Santander’s barriers on international interbank transfers to bank accounts associated with cryptocurrency sites are not supported by any known legal basis.”

The consumer protection organization added that Portugal’s central bank, Banco de Portugal, previously sent them a statement restating bitcoin has no legal framework in the country. As such, bitcoin-related activities are outside the financial institution’s supervision.

The central bank restated its warning against cryptocurrency investments, and added it doesn’t advise people to accept bitcoin payments, as it considers cryptocurrencies a risky investment.


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