Brussels (Brussels Morning) Will Belgium regulate cryptocurrency? The answer depends on the type of regulation, but the questions are valid in general. Belgian regulators are unlikely to regulate digital currencies unless they make them subject to their own regulatory regime.
Currently, the Special Tax Inspectorate treats the sales of crypto-assets as miscellaneous income. However, the Financial Services and Markets Authority has called for the country to formally regulate digital currency trading by 2020.
To date, the government of Belgium has not introduced a regulatory sandbox for the market. However, it has stated that it will be open to fintech and cryptocurrency companies and that it will not interfere with the free flow of capital. In the meantime, the governmental bodies that supervise financial markets are attempting to ensure that their citizens are safe. But this isn’t a simple task. In Belgium, many regulations are in the works, including the introduction of a Regulatory Sandbox.
The first step in regulating crypto-assets is to ensure that they are not traded without proper regulation. The FSMA is the body responsible for financial supervision in the country. It has several provisions relating to the protection of consumers. In Book VI of its Economic Law, there are several consumer protection provisions. These include banking services, individual pensions, insurance, and securities. The Belgian market for cryptocurrency and digital assets is a growing market and its regulation is a must.
The NBB oversees the financial system and individual institutions, and it is unlikely to introduce a sandbox for cryptocurrencies. Instead, it will rely on existing legislation for financial instruments, investment products, and securities. The Belgian securities law could apply to virtual currency as well. And if the FSMA decides to regulate the market, the Belgian financial system will continue to remain open and welcoming. The NBB will oversee the underlying technology, and ensure that the market is safe.
Several laws currently exist in Belgium that deal with digital assets. Among these is the Digital Assets Business Act, Banks and Deposit Companies Amendment Act, and Insurance and Company Law Amendment Act. In other words, the government is trying to regulate cryptocurrency. Then, it will have to decide how much to regulate it. The Belgian government has taken a stand on cryptocurrency, but the decision will be hard to overrule the market.
While cryptocurrencies are still unregulated in Belgium, the National Bank has warned that virtual currency is not legal tender. The Financial Services and Markets Authority has warned of the risks associated with cryptocurrencies. According to the National Bank, if a blockchain platform is offering a crowdfunding type of service, it will likely fall under the Belgian Crowdfunding Act. The law also regulates equity-based and crowd-lending platforms.