Crypto exchange Binance has been ordered by Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) to cease providing any crypto exchange and custody wallet services in the country. The Belgian financial regulator stressed that it “takes the view that by offering such services in Belgium from countries that are not members of the European Economic Area, Binance is in violation of that prohibition.”
Belgian Regulator Orders Binance to Cease Crypto Services in the Country
Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) announced Friday that it has ordered cryptocurrency exchange to “cease immediately all offers of virtual currency services in Belgium.”
The FSMA noted that “Binance is offering and providing exchange services in Belgium between virtual currencies and legal currencies, as well as custody wallet services, from countries that are not members of the European Economic Area.” The financial regulator emphasized: “The FSMA takes the view that by offering such services in Belgium from countries that are not members of the European Economic Area, Binance is in violation of that prohibition.” The announcement details:
By way of its decision dated 23 June 2023, the FSMA has therefore decided to order Binance to cease, with immediate effect, offering or providing any exchange services in Belgium between virtual currencies and legal currencies, as well as custody wallet services.
“Failure to comply with this prohibition is subject to criminal sanctions pursuant to Article 136 of the Belgian Law on the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing,” the regulator warned.
In addition to ordering Binance to cease crypto activities in Belgium, the FSMA stated that it has “demanded that Binance take immediate measures” to return to Belgian clients “all cryptographic keys and/or all virtual currencies that Binance holds for their account, or to transfer these to entities governed by the law of an EEA member state and duly authorized by their domestic law to carry out such activities.”
Belgium’s Crypto Regulation
The financial regulator explained that providing exchange services “between virtual currencies and legal currencies and of custody wallet services (VASP) remains an unregulated activity, except as concerns combating money laundering and terrorist financing (AML/TF).”
The FSMA noted that the European Union’s Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulation, which was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on June 9, “will introduce more general rules, and in particular prudential rules, governing activities relating to crypto-assets.” The regulator clarified:
These rules, with direct effect in Belgian law, will enter into force in January 2025.
In the absence of specific regulations, the common law and relevant provisions of the Belgian Criminal Code are applicable to crypto assets, the FSMA noted.
Binance is facing increased regulatory scrutiny across multiple countries. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed charges against Binance, CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ), and Binance US. In addition, Binance has ceased operations in the United Kingdom. The exchange has also pulled out of the Netherlands and is seeking to deregister in Cyprus. Furthermore, French investigators are investigating Binance on allegations of money laundering and regulatory breaches.
What do you think about Binance being ordered to halt its crypto services in Belgium and its decision to withdraw from multiple countries? Let us know in the comments section below.