- According to new guidelines, from May 1 legal individuals and entities that wish to provide crypto exchange services or custodial wallets in Belgium will have to register in advance.
- Crypto establishments operating before the new announcement are required by law to notify the FSMA of the “exercise of their activity” before July 1.
- To obtain a license as a virtual asset service provider, a 7-part criteria is also now required to be fulfilled.
In a statement, Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), which is Belgium’s financial regulator, stated that legal entities and individuals looking to provide crypto exchange services or custodial wallets in the country will now have to register in advance.
FSMA also added that the existing virtual or cryptocurrency currency service providers must also notify the FSMA of the nature of their activity before July 1st under the existing anti-money laundering law. The cryptocurrency service providers have also been granted four additional months to apply for registration, with the deadline slated to be September 1st.
Furthermore, to obtain a license as a virtual asset service provider (VASP), an entity or individual must fulfill a seven-part criteria, which include having a specific corporate form and a minimum capital of EUR 50,000 ( approx USD 52,718). The service providers are further required to set up a central administration and registered office in Belgium and must pay the contributions to the operating costs of the FSMA.
Upon successful registration, crypto establishments will receive a unique registration number that must be used in all future engagements with the FSMA. FSMA, in its statement, noted that it might also ask service providers for additional information it deems necessary to assess their applications, which typically takes around three months. The FSMA will later notify its decision by registered letter.
Belgium, which has previously been skeptical of cryptocurrencies, is now cozying up to the cryptocurrency ecosystem as the country is now witnessing an increasing number of Bitcoin ATMs popping up in recent months. The country’s pro-crypto stance became reinstated at the start of this year when Brussels member of parliament Christophe De Beukelaer became the first European politician to convert his salary to Bitcoin. Beukelaer took the crypto world by storm when he announced using the Bit4You crypto trading platform to convert his monthly paycheck of approximately $6,140, or 5,500 euros, to BTC. During the revelation, Beukelaer also expressed his desire to inspire other politicians in the country to support the growing crypto economy.