It had been reported that a Portuguese branch of Santander, a Spanish bank, had been blocking all transactions that were related to bitcoin. The institution claimed that involved cryptocurrency exchanges which had been partaking in transactions that involved financial products that are not regulated.
Consumers’ Best Interests
This halt led to the bank getting a massive amount of backlash, and now it appears that they have been backing away from this issue and have even started to process these transactions.
There were transactions blocked from some of the leading crypto exchanges such as Coinbase and Bitstamp which naturally led to a lot of frustration among users of the bank attempting to conduct business using bitcoin.
An employee eventually leaked an internal order given to block any transactions that had the IBAN of Coinbase in it. This halt flies in the face of the central bank of Portugal’s, Banco de Portugal, authorization of the American digital currency platform.
Many of the bank’s clients subsequently left for other institutions once they learned of the existence of this block while others approached DECO, a consumer protection group, and asked them to get involved with this issue. The watchdog lambasted the bank for their actions and claimed that no known legal basis allowed them to place a block on transactions related to cryptocurrencies.
There was an update provided by the bank in response to all of this negativity, and they have tried to clarify that that group had put no such blocks in place. They also mentioned their oversight of their clients’ transactions to ensure that they comply with relevant regulations.
It seems like all of this pressure paid off for those users who wanted to make these transactions as people can now send funds to their Coinbase accounts. This showcases a significant victory for bitcoin and digital currencies in Portugal as they have successfully defeated the efforts of a major bank who tried to suppress transactions involving crypto.
There has already been a petition doing the rounds which had been planned to be sent to the parliament of Portugal once there had been 1,000 people who signed it. This petition claimed that Santander Totta was trying to “keep Portugal in the middle ages” as well as making accusations that the best interests of the bank’s customers were not being looked after.
It seemed that their block on crypto transactions was not entirely effective as some people were able to have their transactions go through to exchanges such as Kraken.
The same group that attacked the bank for what they were doing have now sent a proposal to both the European Commissioner who is in charge of the defense of consumers and the Ministry of Finance in Portugal related to the taxing of crypto gains, which is no doubt a topic that is going to become more and more prevalent as the months go on.