Bank of Portugal Regulation no. 03/2021 which sets forward the registration process necessary to carry out activities with virtual assets in Portugal.
On the 23rd of April of 2021, the Bank of Portugal published the Bank of Portugal Regulation no. 03/2021 (hereinafter "Regulation no. 3/2021"), which sets forward the registration process with the Bank of Portugal applicable to entities which intend to carry out activities with virtual assets, pursuant to article 112-A of Law no. 83/2017, of 18 August on the legal obligations and measures to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing (hereinafter "Law no. 83/2017").
Article 112- A of Law No. 83/2017 provides that activities with virtual assets may only be carried out by entities that, for this purpose, obtain their prior registration with the Bank of Portugal.
Pursuant to the provisions of Article 1 (mm) of the referred law, activities with virtual assets are considered to be "Any of the following economic activities, carried out in the name or on behalf of a client:
(i) Exchange services between virtual assets and fiat currencies;
(ii) Exchange services between one or more virtual assets;
(iii) Services whereby a virtual asset is moved from one address or wallet to another (virtual asset transfer);
(iv) Safekeeping or safekeeping and administration services for virtual assets or for instruments that allow the control, holding, storage or transfer of such assets, including private cryptographic keys;".
Thus, this regulation established the initial registration process with the Bank of Portugal applicable to entities that carry out activities with virtual assets must comply, in accordance with Article 112-A of the aforementioned law, and is applicable to entities that wish to carry out or professionally practice, exclusively or simultaneously with other economic activities, one or more activities with virtual assets in Portugal.
Any subsequent changes to the elements subject to registration will also be subject to this legal obligation of communication and registration with the Bank of Portugal.
Thus, this regulation sets forward the rules and formalities of the registration procedure, which we highlight the following aspects:
(i) The submission of applications for registration and subsequent changes to elements subject to registration, as well as the submission of supporting documentation and documentary evidence, are made through Banco de Portugal's website, namely by filling in and submitting the electronic forms provided in the Annex attached to this legal diploma.
(ii) Although the forms and other supporting documentation, which the applicant entity is responsible for the preparation and submission, must always be made in Portuguese, the remaining supporting elements may be submitted in Portuguese or English, provided they are duly certified by the competent authorities for this purpose.
(iii) Communication of the commencement of activity after authorization is granted shall be made to the e-mail address email@example.com, without any special formalities.
(iv) The applicant entity has the legal duty to keep the documents supporting this application for a period of 10 years and must immediately make them available to Banco de Portugal upon request.
Without prejudice to the information to be submitted and on which the validity of the application for authorisation to carry on this activity depends, Banco de Portugal reserves the right to request additional information and to carry out any inquiries it deems necessary.
Regulation no. 03/2021 takes effect on 24 April 2021.
To access the full legal text of Banco of Portugal Regulation no. 03/2021 please click here.
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