The Belgian financial markets regulator wants the government to implement regulations for the rapidly-growing cryptocurrency industry. In a recent hearing, the regulator urged the country’s lawmakers to establish a legal framework for crypto, at a time when there are thousands of cryptos available to Belgian investors.
The Financial Services and Market Authority hasn’t had much grasp on the crypto industry in Belgium, especially since the country’s financial laws haven’t been amended to accommodate cryptos. It currently maintains a platform that lists fraudulent crypto companies and warns the public against using their services. However, the FSMA’s chairman Jean-Paul Servais wants the government to do more.
In a recent Senate hearing, he urged the lawmakers to implement a “legal framework for the sale, purchase, and use of virtual currencies and all related financial products.” Belgium has been lax regarding crypto regulation, and this will end up hurting investors, he claimed. The Western European country has sat back and watched as other countries including Thailand, China and Russia have made strides. Belgium’s neighbors France, Germany and Luxembourg have also been some of the leaders globally in crypto regulation.
Belgian investors now have access to over two thousand cryptos, with no means of knowing what’s legal and what’s not. The crypto market, which is currently worth over $320 billion could have a huge impact on Belgium’s economy, he claimed. Moreover, the lack of regulations has in some instances brought conflict between the market directives issued by the FSMA and the National Bank of Belgium.
The risk of crypto-related crimes can’t be ignored either. He stated, “Due to their non-traceability, the bitcoins are and other virtual currencies very popular in the context of cyber crime: they are ubiquitous on darknet, since they can become cyber crime committed without leaving traces.”
Servais pointed to the sprouting of crypto ATMs in Belgium which have made it that much easier to acquire cryptos. He further talked about a royal decree from 2014 which delved into the offering of professional crypto-based financial products.
He concluded, “A legal framework should be established without delay this virtual money and related financial products, in particular, to protect consumers and the use of this virtual currency for criminal objectives.”
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