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Bison Bank granted Portugal’s landmark digital asset license, aims for an exchange

One of the most digital asset tax-friendly countries globally, Portugal, has awarded its first virtual currency operating license to the Lisbon-based Bison Bank. The bank is aiming to develop the Bison Digital Assets exchange.

According to the local media website Sapo, the country’s central bank called Banco de Portugal gave full permission to launch the Bison Digital Assets exchange to offer diverse virtual currency assistance. The Portuguese platform can now offer custodial and exchange services to the nation.

The bank has already been providing different banking and traditional asset management services, including custody, depository, and investment assistance. According to its website, Bison Bank is “fully held by private Chinese capital from Hong Kong” and has been bridging European and Asian financial markets.

Per Sapo, although the bank had losses of €10 million ($10.8 million) in 2021, the financial institution “still ensures that last year’s results allow it to continue to follow up the establishment of the foundations for the breakeven convergence process.”

The digital asset tax haven

Bison Bank is the first to get an official digital currency license from the country’s central bank. However, Portugal is not new to the asset class. Since the Southwest European country treats digital assets as a form of currency and not capital gains, people are exempt from value-added tax (VAT), meaning 0% tax on virtual currencies as long as users don’t provide services in exchange for digital assets.

According to a CNBC report in February, a Dutch family called the “Taihuttus” has chosen to settle in Portugal for its digital currency tax laws after traveling to 40 countries in the past five years, saying, “You don’t pay any capital gains tax or anything else in Portugal on cryptocurrency.”

Unlike some other countries like the U.S., Portugal doesn’t tax digital assets as property, making it “a really attractive place for crypto users to live,” according to Shehan Chandrasekera, head of the tax strategy at CoinTracker.io.

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