On the 22nd of November 2013, the Bank of Portugal issued a press release highlighting the risks of using bitcoin and stating that the Bank of Portugal does not oversee or supervise the issuance or use of bitcoin. The Bank concluded the release by indicating that banks are aware of the need to monitor and may eventually recognize and act on bitcoin. Despite the lack of regulation and supervision, the Bank of Portugal has indicated that the use of cryptocurrencies is not forbidden or an illegal act. Hence, this entity is so far more focused on a preventive and educational approach by alerting the public to the risks of cryptocurrencies.
On the 10th of March 2015, the Bank of Portugal issued a press release in line with the alerts issued by the European Central Bank and the European Banking Authority, in which it draws attention to the following:
- Virtual currencies have no legal tender in Portugal, so their acceptance by nominal value is not mandatory;
- There is no legal protection that guarantees consumer reimbursement rights that use virtual currencies to make payments, unlike with regulated payment instruments;
- In the event of a partial or total devaluation of the virtual currencies, there is no fund that covers any losses of its users, who will have to bear all risk associated with operations with these instruments;
- The user of virtual currencies may lose all their investments on the trading platform;
Transactions with virtual currencies can be misused in criminal activities, including money laundering and terrorist financing.
Due to the risks associated with the use of virtual currencies, the Bank of Portugal recommends that credit institutions, payment institutions and electronic money institutions subject to its supervision refrain from buying, holding or selling virtual currencies, as set out in Circular Letter 11/2015 / DPG.
Financial institutions are required to assess the transfer of funds to and from the virtual currency trading platforms in the light of the rules on the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.