Bison Bank, located in Portugal, has been granted permission by the country’s central bank to operate as a virtual asset service provider (VASP).
According to local media, Bison is the first bank to gain a regulatory license to offer crypto custody and exchange services. Bison Digital Assets will continue to be wholly owned by Bison Bank.
The Banco de Portugal has revised its list of approved virtual asset service providers to include Bison Digital Assets as the country’s fifth licensed cryptocurrency exchange.
The company was formed recently to operate under Bison Bank, which is fully owned by a Chinese private capital company located in Hong Kong, and would provide cryptocurrency services to high net worth clients.
Portugal is a crypto-friendly nation and a crypto tax haven. Cryptocurrency income is tax-free unless it is derived from professional trading activity.
The Portuguese government has established a working group comprised of representatives from public and commercial sectors, as well as formulate experts, to develop a sector-wide national blockchain strategy.
Portugal will declare its blockchain strategy in June. The government aims to issue a consultation edition of the strategy by the end of the month, with the final version published in June.
In April 2020, the nation announced intentions to construct Technological Free Zones (ZLTs), regions where firms may test new services and products, with the country indicating that it was investigating blockchain technology as part of its digital transformation strategy.
Valentin Sotov, a software developer, views Portugal as a key cryptocurrency market as well. Sotov, a Ukraine refugee, is developing Amber, a crypto-based metaverse game. Portugal, he said, has “a significant possibility for our product since we can collaborate with a large number of IT professionals in one location.”
Portugal hosts the yearly Web Summit, a significant technological conference, as well as casual crypto gatherings in bars.
Portuguese entrepreneurs have founded a minor amount of private crypto companies with a combined market capitalization of more than $1 billion. Anchorage Digital, a digital asset bank based in northern Portugal, was founded by a Portuguese.
The central bank classified Portuguese exchanges Criptoloja and Mind the Coin as virtual asset service providers earlier this year. The central bank’s website now lists five virtual asset service providers (VASPs).