Towards a regulated cryptocurrency market?

1. Belgium: the Crypto Royal Decree

As a result of the Royal Decree of 08.02.2022, the activities of certain providers of services relating to virtual coins or currency in Belgium will be regulated. In concrete terms, this means certain conditions are imposed on these types of service providers, which must fulfill them. These conditions relate to the compliance of anti-money laundering regulations, integrity of the service provider, and/or investor- or consumer protection, among other things.

To complement one of our previous newsletters, we will give you a bird’s eye view of the FSMA’s decision-making in the form of flowchart. This will enable you to easily find the answer to the question: am I a provider of virtual currency services that must be registered with the FSMA?

You can also find this decision-making flowchart on the FSMA’s website: www.fsma.be.

 

2. Europe: the Markets in Crypto-assets Regulation (MiCA)

You would have read in an earlier newsletter that a MiCA regulation at EU level is under way. The purpose of this regulation is to create legal certainty for crypto-assets and/or to try to develop a uniform set of rules for crypto-asset service providers. Investor- or consumer protection plays a central role in the regulation.

An important date regarding the proposed MiCA regulation was 14.03.2022. On this date, the EU voted down the section or the clause that wanted to ban proof-of-work-based (POW-based) crypto assets (such as bitcoins), which was included in the draft MiCA regulation. If this proposed rule were adopted, this would actually lead to a prohibition of mining, trading, or use of bitcoins, among other things, in the EU Member States.

The initial “POW ban” – which has been voted down in the meantime – was inspired by the fact that proof-of-work-based crypto assets are mined in an energy-consuming way (i.e., using processors that solve complex mathematical calculations, which needs a lot of energy for this). This ban will eventually not be included.

The path is open for the MiCA regulation to attain its objectives, namely:

  • Legal certainty;
  • Support for innovation;
  • Consumer- and investor protection and/or market integrity;
  • Financial stability of the internal market for crypto-assets and related services.

This regulation intends to get rid of the different crypto-assets regulations that every Member State has to deal with individually. A uniform regulation within the EU will remove the inequality within the EU market regarding crypto-assets and crypto-enterprises. Legal certainty, which is encouraged by this regulation, will also stimulate access to the EU market and innovation concerning crypto-assets and/or crypto-markets.

At the same time, the MiCA regulation’s objective is to protect investors or consumers more adequately and efficiently.Needless to say, we will continue to follow up on the evolution of this and will duly keep you informed.

Looking for advice on a specific topic?

We will guide you to the right person or team.