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Portugal to change its tax laws with respect to crypto - is Gibraltar the alternative?

For a number of years now, Portugal has been attracting many founders and investors in the crypto space with its Golden Visa and its treatment of crypto which is currently that crypto gains are not taxed on the grounds that they are not legal tender.

In a move to level the playing field relative to investors in other asset classes, the Portuguese Finance Minister Fernando Medina has confirmed that they will begin taxing crypto gains although without confirming when this change will come.

The move reinforces the benefits of Gibraltar which provides legal, regulatory and taxation certainty in what can often still be an uncertain business globally. 

Gibraltar has established a robust DLT regulatory framework which has been in place since 2018. Gibraltar licences from the Financial Services Commission having been granted to numerous large and highly reputable crypto exchanges including eToro, ZUBR (FTX subsidiary), Huobi, Xapo, CEX, Bitso and, amongst others. 

For token sales (which generally fall outside of the DLT licensing framework) Gibraltar has a robust VASP registration system in place which connects project principles directly with the regulator to ensure a high standard of AML and KYC checks. Although the token issuing entity is not licensed by the regulator, this registration/approval process gives comfort both to investors and third-party service providers which are necessary to operate and interact with the traditional financial world (such as banks). 

In addition:

  • The 3 certainties: legal, regulatory & tax certainty with respect to crypto.
  • Tried and tested process for VASP registration. Quick, efficient and provides comfort for investors and third-party service providers.
  • Ability to open crypto and fiat accounts for the VASP.
  • Highly developed crypto ecosystem in Gibraltar.
  • MiCA is still some years away from implementation and adoption in the EU. Rules will not become clear until they come into force and there will be teething problems at the beginning.
  • Gibraltar’s strong reputation and compliant with OECD & FATF standards.
  • DLT Framework in place since 1 January 2018 - selective approach taken to licence only reputable applicants.
  • Common law legal system based on English law and legal system (UK Privy Council is our ultimate court of appeal).
  • GFSC is based and operates on same principles as UK FCA.
  • Other jurisdictions (e.g. Malta) have been hit with numerous corruption scandals – Gibraltar has no such controversy.
  • The only security token offering to date (to our knowledge) which has undergone scrutiny and received the blessing of the US SEC was by a Gibraltar company (INX Limited – this is public info). The exhaustive SEC approval process essentially amounted to an audit (and vote of confidence) by the SEC on the Gibraltar legal framework and jurisdiction (including analysis on our corporate and insolvency laws).

For more information on moving to Gibraltar, email me at

“There cannot be gaps that cause there to be capital gains in relation to the transaction of assets that do not have a tax.” - Portuguese Finance Minister, Fernando Medina

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