Portugal elections: Is the country’s crypto-friendly status at stake?

The Portugal general elections opened on March 10, 2024, just one month before the 50th anniversary of the Carnation Revolution, which marked the end of the Salazar dictatorship.

This election marks a significant change in Portugal’s political landscape.

In 2022, former Prime Minister Antonio Costa achieved a historic victory, securing an outright majority in parliament with 41.37% of the votes. This gave the center-left Socialist Party (PS) the ability to govern without forming coalitions.

However, the socialist government has been plagued by corruption and scandals, resulting in several resignations, including that of Prime Minister Costa. These events prompted the President of the Republic to call for new elections and have shaken the PS’ dominance in Portuguese politics.

The most recent poll from Consulmark2 shows a tight race between the candidates.

The majority of respondents, nearly 30%, support the new center-right coalition Democratic Alliance (AD) led by Luis Montenegro. However, AD’s lead is slim, with the PS’ Pedro Nuno Santos closely behind at 27%.

This tied position has given a unique opportunity to the newly formed right-wing party, Chega, which has garnered 18.2% of the votes. Founder André Ventura has capitalized on the dissatisfaction with the ruling PS and positioned his party as the voice of the Portuguese people.

In the lower range, the center-right Liberal Initiative (IL) (6%), left-wing Left Block (BE) (5.2%), ecosocialist Livre (4.6%), and communist Unitary Democratic Coalition (CDU) (2.5%) may have the chance to influence the government as part of a coalition.

Since 2016, Portugal has been globally recognized as a crypto-friendly country. Its unique tax laws and regulations have made it a hotspot for crypto users and blockchain companies in Europe.

How could a new government with different policies impact Portugal’s position as a digital asset hub, one of the few in Europe? This is a question that many are asking as they learn about the differences between web 1.0, 2.0, and the latest version, web 3.0.

To understand the changes and how to build a web 3.0 website or invest in this new era, it is important to first grasp the distinctions between web 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. While web 1.0 was characterized by static websites and limited user interaction, web 2.0 introduced dynamic content and increased user participation. Web 3.0, on the other hand, is marked by the integration of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and the use of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Portuguese elections may impact crypto-friendly policies

The upcoming Portuguese elections could have significant implications for the country’s stance on cryptocurrency. All national political parties have included crypto-related positions in their electoral programs, making Portugal unique in this regard.

The New Economy Institute, a prominent crypto association in Portugal, has highlighted the key differences between each party’s stance on crypto.

The most pro-crypto party is Chega, which has expressed its commitment to solidifying Portugal’s position as a global crypto hub. They plan to promote the adoption of blockchain technology in various sectors, starting with education. This includes introducing courses on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, programming, and blockchain in primary education, as well as incorporating coding and blockchain into school curriculums.

The center-right AD also has a similar stance, with a goal to introduce coding into the national education program and position Portugal as a top 10 country in digitalization in Europe by 2030.

Chega also plans to explore the potential of using blockchain technology for administrative procedures, such as property and land registration, as well as creating a digital identity managed by blockchain. They believe this will not only streamline bureaucracy but also increase transparency and combat corruption.

The socialist PS party, which is currently in power, has already implemented crypto-friendly policies and plans to continue its Web3 national strategy. However, the outcome of the election could potentially change this, as PS may need to form a coalition with other parties to make a government.

Some of the smaller parties, such as BE and CDU, have more hostile views towards cryptocurrencies and could push PS to abandon its current crypto-friendly regime. BE, for example, wants to tax all crypto-related gains and create a mandatory reporting system for cryptocurrency holdings and transactions.

The possibility of a coalition with the right-wing party AD, who is also pro-crypto, could also impact PS’s policies. If they form a government with AD, PS may need to make concessions and potentially harm their current crypto-friendly stance.

The Impact of Web 3.0 on the Portuguese Crypto Community

The Portuguese crypto community stands to benefit greatly from the continuation of crypto-friendly legislation, according to Henrique Corrêa da Silva, president of the New Economy Institute. However, if the BE party were to come into power, it could have negative consequences for the community, although this outcome is unlikely based on current polls.

But what would happen if the current crypto-friendly policies were suddenly replaced with more restrictive measures?

For Portuguese-based crypto influencer Sebastian Montgomery, this change would significantly increase his tax rate and potentially lead him to consider leaving the country. He, like many others, was drawn to Portugal in part because of its favorable tax regime for digital nomads.

However, as Mitchell Loureiro, CEO of Immunefi, points out, the crypto industry is highly adaptable and can easily relocate if necessary.

Despite Portugal’s reputation as one of the most crypto-friendly countries in the world, it ranks relatively low in terms of crypto adoption, according to a 2023 Chainalysis study. This is a missed opportunity for the country, as there are over 650 crypto companies currently operating in Portugal, according to the Portuguese Web3 association Quo Vadis.

Corrêa da Silva believes that Portugal has a unique opportunity to create lasting wealth through crypto adoption, much like how the country prospered during its golden age 500 years ago by embracing technological advancements and knowledge. He sees the potential for Portugal to become a major player in the digital world by exporting cutting-edge technology and attracting talented individuals back to the country.

However, in order for this to happen, the crypto industry must first stabilize and mature. The outcome of this election will not only impact the future of Portuguese politics, but also the potential for Portugal to establish itself as a hub for digital assets.

In conclusion, the differences between web 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 are significant and understanding them is crucial for anyone looking to learn about web 3.0 or build a web 3.0 website. Web 3.0 represents the next stage in the evolution of the internet, with its focus on decentralization, interoperability, and user control. It is a paradigm shift from the previous versions of the web, and its impact on industries like finance, healthcare, and education cannot be ignored. By investing in web 3.0, Portugal has the potential to once again become a leader in innovation and secure its place in the digital world.

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