Regulations applicable to cryptocurrency platforms as of 1st May 2022

Regulations applicable to cryptocurrency platforms as of 1st May 2022

The Royal Decree of 8 February 2022, which lays down the requirements for the registration of providers of exchange services between virtual currencies and legal currencies, will apply as of 1st May 2022 to both natural persons and legal persons established in Belgium who offer to provide: (a) exchange services between virtual currencies and legal currencies, (b) custody wallet services and (c) providers of distribution services for banknotes converted from virtual currencies (ATMs).

Only providers governed by Belgian law and providers governed by the law of another Member State of the European Economic Area which have a branch or any other form of permanent establishment in Belgium are subject to the registration requirement.

The notion of permanent establishment is to be understood in the sense of the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union in this respect (representatives, distributors, etc.). Electronic infrastructures installed on Belgian territory, through which legal persons governed by the law of another Member State offer services related to virtual currencies (i.e. ATMs), are assimilated to permanent establishments within the meaning of the present Royal Decree (as, from now on, in the AML law).

Furthermore, given the risks that exchange services between virtual currencies and legal currencies and custody portfolio services represent in terms of money laundering and terrorist financing and potentially also for Belgian financial stability, and given the uncertainty as to the regulations applicable outside the European Union natural or legal persons governed by the law of a third country (i.e. not a member of the European Union) are prohibited from offering to provide or providing, on Belgian territory, as a regular professional activity, even if complementary or ancillary, exchange services between virtual currencies and legal currencies or custody portfolio services.

Legal persons who were already providing such services before 1 May 2022 will be able to continue their activities on a provisional basis until FSMA decides on their application for entry in the register, subject to notification to FSMA by 30 June 2022, followed by an application for entry submitted by 31 August 2022 at the latest. If they fail to do so, their authorisation will be withdrawn.

For more information, please contact : David Szafran

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