Santander Totta now allows the purchase of virtual coins through Coinbase

  • ECO News
  • 19 January 2018

From this Thursday onward, the Portuguese bank is no longer blocking transfers from its clients to Coinbase, the most internationally used online platform for purchasing and selling bitcoins.

After the news that the Portuguese bank Santander Totta was trying to stop the purchase of bitcoin through Coinbase since the end of last year, the institution headed by Vieira Monteiro has started allowing transfers to be made to the platform since this Thursday, ECO ascertained. The bank’s clients may experience some difficulties in the next couple of days because transactions have just started being unblocked and the process is not instant. One of Santander’s clients confirmed to ECO that he was able to make a transfer to Coinbase this Thursday afternoon.

Coinbase is one of the most used platforms by investors in cryptocurrencies worldwide. In the end of last year, Totta’s clients started having trouble with transfers to and from that platform that allows them to buy and sell bitcoins, for example. ECO had access to the banks’ official answers to clients reporting difficulties, in which the bank justifies the blockage by stating the entity was transacting “non-regulated financial products”.

There was one client who stated that an employee from Santander Totta told him there is an internal guideline instructing employees to block transfers to Coinbase. When asked by ECO if he was blocking the transfers to the platform, the bank chose not to make any official comments about clients’ complaints.

Yet, this Wednesday, the bank decided to comment: “The Bank Santander Totta has not chosen any measures contrary to cryptocurrencies or to those who operate with them”. “In spite of not being able to comment on the activities of clients, Santander Totta reaffirms that it accompanies all operations within its scope, while always complying with the supervision and legal norms applicable to each case”, the institution headed by Vieira Monteiro added in the only statement it made on the subject.

The reaction came on the same day Deco (Portuguese consumer rights’ entity) stated there was no legal reason allowing Santander Totta to stop the purchase of digital coins. “The institution’s position is not sustained by any legally known basis”, Deco wrote in an article on its website.

There are several institutions transacting cryptocurrency headquartered in the European Union that are authorized by the Bank of Portugal — and it is possible to see on the Portuguese regulator’s website that Coinbase is among the authorized entities, since it is headed in London and started its activity on May 15, 2017. On the same website, it is possible to see that, so far, there is no public decision taken about this platform in particular.