Several countries have started to explore regulatory frameworks as cryptocurrency adoption remains high. Adding to the trend, Belgium regulators have imposed a new law in place for individuals and entities wanting to provide exchange services between virtual currencies and legal currencies or custody wallet services.
Belgian cryptocurrency exchanges and custodial wallet services will have to register with the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) to operate in the country under this new rule.
FSMA’s Crypto Rule
In a statement, Belgium’s financial regulators said that the legal individuals and entities seeking to provide crypto exchange services or custodial wallets in the country will have to register in advance.
Existing virtual currency service providers, on the other hand, must notify the FSMA of the nature of their activity before July 1st under the anti-money laundering law. The establishments have also been given four additional months to apply for registration, with the deadline being September 1st.
Furthermore, to obtain a license as a virtual asset service provider (VASP), an entity must fulfill seven criteria which include having a specific corporate form and a minimum capital of EUR 50,000 ($52,718 approx.). The service providers are also required to set up central administration and registered office in Belgium and must pay the contributions to the operating costs of the FSMA.
The financial regulator also said it might ask service providers for additional information it deems necessary to assess their applications, which typically takes three months. The FSMA will then notify its decision by registered letter.
Belgium has previously been skeptical of the cryptocurrency industry. But as BTC soared to new heights, the country witnessed an increasing number of Bitcoin ATMs popping up in recent months.
Brussels member of parliament Christophe De Beukelaer recently became the first politician in Europe to convert his entire salary of EUR 5,500 (5,799 approx.) to Bitcoin. As reported earlier, he expects the move to encourage other politicians in the region to show a similar interest in the maverick technology. Talking about crypto adoption, the lawmaker said,
“We can no longer remain ignorant of this new world. It’s a bit like clinging to the carriage or the candle as cars and light bulbs appear. Adoption is going to be exponential.”