(Bloomberg) -- Portugal is embarking on a major change of course as it considers levying taxes on cryptocurrencies, signaling a policy shift for one of Europe’s most crypto-friendly destinations. 

The country’s lack of legislation, combined with its affordable living costs and mild temperatures has attracted a growing number of digital nomads and cryptocurrency companies in recent years. At the moment, Portugal does not tax crypto gains, unless it stems from professional or business activities. 

But this could soon change. 

“The government’s intention is to legislate on this matter,” Finance Minister Fernando Medina told reporters in Lisbon on Thursday. “I don’t want to commit to a deadline. The timetable will be as soon as possible, when we have a consistent proposal and after a wide public debate.”

Medina, a former mayor of Lisbon, insisted that Portugal would still be a competitive destination once the new tax rules come into force. 

“Portugal will adopt a regime that is effective, that is fair, and a regime that fits within the best practices from the point of view of what are the international experiences and also the competitive position of the country,” he said. 

The presence of crypto enthusiasts is palpable in Lisbon, where networking opportunities range from the annual Web Summit, one of the world’s biggest technology conferences, to weekly informal gatherings at bars.

The number of foreign residents living in Portugal rose 40% over the past decade to 555,299 people in 2021, according to Portugal’s National Statistics Institute. Some of these residents also benefit from a flat 20% tax on their income or a 10% tax on their pensions, according to the country’s so-called non-habitual resident program. 

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