September 26, 2023 at 10:54 GMTModified date: September 26, 2023 at 10:54 GMT
September 26, 2023 at 10:54 GMT

Binance resumes services in Belgium after halting for three months

Belgium has reopened registration in Belgium, three months after FSMA had told it to cease operations.

Binance resumes services in Belgium after halting for three months

Binance has reopened new registrations of Belgian residents, along with other services, three months after the country’s financial regulator had ceased its services.

The news was announced in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday. Various Binance products and services have also been made accessible to Belgian users who have accepted the platform’s new ‘Terms of Use’.

In a continued post in the same thread on X, Binance said: “We have been overwhelmed by your show of support these past few months, by continuously standing by us. Your patience during these recent changes has been truly appreciated. Thank you for standing by us and being a valued member of our community.”

Back in June, the country’s regulatory watchdog Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), had ordered the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange to cease its operations in Belgium. FSMA said that this was because Binance offered certain services from countries that are not members of the European Economic Area.

The platform was offering and providing exchange services in Belgium between virtual currencies and legal currencies, as well as custody wallet services, which is not allowed in the country. Failing to comply with these rules could mean criminal sanctions, added the regulator, asking for an “immediate” halt of Binance’s services in Belgium.

The FSMA also noted that Binance did not dispute that it offered these services in Belgium. Following this, a spokesperson representing the exchange said: “We are reviewing the details of their notice and will continue to work collaboratively with regulators in Belgium and around the world in compliance with our obligations.”

Binance has now managed to reopen its doors to Belgium users by tapping into Binance Poland sp. z o.o. Last month, the platform shared its plans to do the same in a blog post that said that its Polish unit would help it to provide the necessary legal compliance to continue serving its customers in Belgium.

Binance Poland is able to provide crypto exchange and custodian services in line with its registration as a virtual assets service provider (VASP) in Poland. In order for Belgian users to continue using the Binance platform, they will have to accept the Terms of Use of Binance Poland for Belgian users, noted the blog. They might also be asked to resubmit some of the required know-your-customer (KYC) documentation in order to comply with Polish regulatory requirements.

To facilitate this move, the platform went ahead to delist some privacy coins in Belgium that were already delisted in Poland. This included coins like Monero ($XMR), MobileCoin ($MOB), Firo ($FIRO) and Horizen ($ZEN).

These recent developments come in the background of continuing regulatory hurdles that Binance faces in Europe. The month of June saw the exchange making an exit from the Netherlands after failing to acquire regulatory approval in the country.

In order to prepare the business to be fully compliant with the European Union’s Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) upon its implementation, Binance decided to pull back its efforts in Cyprus too. This was done to focus on fewer regulated entities in the EU, especially its larger registered markets where the exchange already has a “mature footprint, including France, Italy and Spain”.

However, in France, the exchange is reportedly under investigation for illegal provision of crypto services and alleged money laundering. Binance also faces the heat in the US over the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) filing of its lawsuit against the platform, alleging it had violated the country’s securities laws.

In September, Binance CEO Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao filed a motion for dismissal of the charges brought against the exchange by the US SEC. It argued that the regulator had “overstepped its authority” in pushing the lawsuit.