Belgium in turn regulates crypto companies

The Belgian financial regulator has unveiled the registration requirements for digital asset service providers (DSPs). They are applicable immediately, subject to penalties.

Belgian crypto companies are in the sights of the regulator. The Financial Services and Markets Authority, the FSMA, published on April 29 on its website the conditions for the registration of digital asset service providers (PSAN). A measure that clearly echoes the PSAN registration issued in France by the Financial Markets Authority (AMF) and introduced under the Pacte law.

“As of 1 May 2022, any legal person established in Belgium wishing to provide exchange services between virtual currencies and legal currencies, or custodial portfolio services in Belgium will have to register in advance with the FSMA. Service providers already in operation on May 1, 2022 must notify the FSMA of the exercise of their activity before July 1, 2022 and apply for registration before September 1, 2022”, states the authority.

Possibility to prohibit the activity

This measure does not come out of nowhere: in February, Belgium adopted a royal decree relating to the control of PSANs as well as a bill including cryptocurrencies in the measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism .

“When the FSMA finds that a service provider linked to virtual currencies does not operate in accordance with the Royal Decree of 8 February 2022 on the status and supervision of providers of exchange services between virtual currencies and legal currencies and custodial portfolio service providers, it sets a deadline within which the observed situation must be remedied”, warns the authority, which gives itself the right to “prohibit” the activity of an actor until that it remedies certain shortcomings.

National executives who will have to move

To date, due to a lack of European regulation, some countries have adopted national frameworks aimed at regulating cryptocurrencies, such as Malta, Germany, Italy and Luxembourg. In France, 36 players, including the Delubac bank and Coinhouse, have obtained PSAN registration from the AMF.

But while Europe should reach, by the end of June, an agreement on these draft regulations Mica (or Market in crypto assets) and TFR (for “Transfer of Funds Regulation” which aims to apply measures against money laundering money), what will become of the existing national frameworks?

Once the Mica regulation, which will modify European directive 2019/1937, is in place, member countries will have to comply with this new framework within a certain period of time. In France, for example, Bercy will potentially have to review French legislation, both to bring the existing framework into line with the new European regulation, in terms of definitions of crypto-assets for example, and to identify any provisions on which the France would like to be more demanding, if it turns out to be relevant at the margin. A priori, there should be no major break between the current French framework and the future European framework.

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