Since 1 May 2022, virtual currency service providers and custodian wallets providers operating in Belgium must be registered with the FSMA and must comply with Belgian anti-money laundering regulation. The new regime imposes a ban on non-EEA service providers which cannot operate in Belgium since 1 May 2022.

A transitional grandfathering regime is available for virtual currency service providers already active in Belgium before 1 May 2022.

The new regulatory regime can be found in the Act of 1 February 2022 amending the Act of 18 September 2017 on the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism and restricting the use of cash (the “AML Act”) and in two implementing royal decrees, the Royal Decree of 8 February 2022 on the status and supervision of providers of exchange services of virtual currency and fiat currency and custodian wallets providers (the “Virtual Currency Royal Decree”) and the Royal Decree of 5 March 2022 on the reimbursement of the FSMA's operating expenses with respect to the supervision of providers of virtual currency exchange services and fiduciary currency exchange services and providers of custody accounts. It results from the implementation in Belgium of the 5th AML Directive which imposes that virtual currency service providers are required to register with the FSMA for AML purposes.

As from 1 May 2022, these virtual currency service providers active in Belgium become subject to the requirements set out by the AML Act and must be registered with the Financial Services and Markets Authority (the “FSMA”), which will monitor compliance with legal professional reliability and competence requirements and supervise compliance with the AML Act. The Virtual Currency Royal Decree imposes a ban on non-EEA service providers which cannot offer Virtual Currency Services in Belgium anymore as of 1 May 2022.

Please consult our Q&As below for practical insight on the new regulatory regime, in particular if you question whether the activities of your company fall within the scope of application of the Virtual Currency Royal Decree, if you are a service provider from a non-EEA Member State that must reorganize the way it provides virtual currency services in Belgium or if you contemplate to apply for the status of Virtual Currency Service Provider.

You may also consult the Q&A published on the website of the FSMA.