Belgium’s financial regulator, the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), has clarified its position on the status of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether, stating that crypto assets without an issuer are issued solely by computer code, do not constitute values. The Belgian government’s position is that cryptocurrencies are more similar to commodities and therefore should not be subject to the same regulations as securities. The clarification comes amid increased demands for answers about how Belgium’s existing financial laws and regulations apply to digital assets, according to the FSMA.
“If there is no issuer, as in cases where the instruments are created by computer code and this is not done in execution of an agreement between the issuer and the investor (for example, Bitcoin or Ether), then, in principle , the Prospectus Regulation, the Prospectus Law and the MiFID rules of conduct do not apply”, FSMA provided the justification in a report published on November 22.
Likewise, the Authority also indicated that, “However, if the titles have a payment or exchange function, other rules may be applied to the titles or to the people who provide certain services related to said titles.”
Furthermore, FSMA emphasized that its step-by-step plan is technology agnostic, which implies that it does not matter whether digital assets exist and are supported via blockchain or in more conventional ways.
The FSMA originally developed the report in July 2022 to answer frequently asked questions from Belgian digital asset issuers and service providers.
The European Parliament’s Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation (MiCA) is expected to come into force in early 2024, and FSMA stated that the step-by-step plan will serve as a guide until then.
The ruling provides much-needed guidance on how digital assets will be treated under Belgian law. This ruling is expected to pave the way for greater clarity and certainty in other jurisdictions when it comes to the regulatory treatment of digital assets.
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