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How Portugal became Europe’s accidental ‘bitcoin heaven’

Ponzi Scheme

How Portugal became Europe’s accidental ‘bitcoin heaven’

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Portugal has long sought foreign cash by giving tax breaks and special visas to foreign investors and digital nomads – Copyright AFP Lillian SUWANRUMPHA

Levi FERNANDES with Joseph SOTINEL in London

As governments slowly shackle the crypto industry with regulations and obligations, Portugal is increasingly isolated in Europe — a place with few rules that investors describe as a crypto paradise.

“You don’t need to do anything else because you already have a perfect system, with zero percent tax on bitcoin,” said Didi Taihuttu, a prominent crypto enthusiast who shifted his family to Portugal from the Netherlands. 

“For bitcoiners, it’s heaven,” he added.

Financial authorities across the globe are grappling with fundamental questions about cryptocurrencies.

Firstly, are they currencies or assets? If they are assets, how do you categorise and tax them? 

Right now, Portugal is one of the last countries in Europe to regard them as currencies from a tax point of view, meaning profits from trading are not taxed.

The finance ministry told AFP it was reviewing the situation and wanted a common European framework, but pressure is building for quick action. 

Mariana Mortagua, a far-left MP, called recently for urgent regulation and summed up the situation bluntly: “Portugal has become a tax haven.”

Even those in the crypto industry accept that things will have to change.

“It’s hard to justify other financial assets being taxed at around 28 percent but not…

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