Portugal Grants First Crypto Exchanges Operating Licenses

The central bank announced Criptoloja and Mind the Coin will be able to operate in the country.

Jun 18, 2021 at 10:02 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:13 p.m. UTC

The Central Bank of Portugal (Banco de Portugal) has licensed two cryptocurrency exchanges for the first time. 

In an official statement, the entity announced it recognized Criptoloja and Mind The Coin as "virtual asset service providers." This is the first time exchanges have been licensed to operate since a new law around crypto trading platforms took effect earlier this year.

The approval came after nearly nine months. Criptoloja first filed for approval on Sept. 29, 2020, the company's CEO Pedro Borges told CoinDesk. 

"It was a long way. Being the first regulated exchange in Portugal means a lot," Borges said. 

In April, a bank executive confirmed that at the time, Banco de Portugal had received five formal registration requests and a total of 60 informal contacts, according to local media outlet Dinheiro Vivo

Mind the Coin and Banco de Portugal did not immediately respond to CoinDesk's queries. 

Critpoloja plans to launch operations "in the next couple of weeks," Borges said, adding that the company allows customers to open online accounts but has not yet enabled online trading. 

According to Borges, Criptoloja will seek to bring together Portuguese people who are looking to invest in cryptocurrencies and do not feel confident enough to open accounts in foreign exchanges. 

Borges added that the greatest adoption of crypto in Portugal is among the new generation of traders, although the company will seek to promote the crypto ecosystem among people of different profiles.


The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.