Bitcoin, Ethereum, no securities: clarifies the Belgian FSMA


Belgian financial regulators do not consider crypto-assets such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) as securities.

The Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has issued a statement stating that cryptocurrencies issued entirely by computer code are not securities. The regulator’s response comes after an increasing number of questions about the application of financial regulation to the asset class.

Win for BTC, ETH

As a major financial regulator seeks to address one of the most important gray areas in the industry, the FSMA’s latest clarification is seen as a victory for the community. Aadhaar is not a crypto asset security if there is no issuer.

“If there is no issuer, such 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 (e.g. bitcoin or ether), then in principle the prospectus is regulation, prospectus law and the MiFID rules of conduct do not apply.”

The authority also said that crypto assets classified as non-securities may be subject to different laws and regulations. But this only applies if they have a payment or exchange function, i.e. if a company uses assets “as a medium of exchange”.

The FSMA considers Belgium’s “Step-Wise” plan to be technology agnostic and that its suitability as a security, financial instrument or investment vehicle does not depend on the technology used. The regulator also said it will update the plan when necessary.

According to the regulator, the step-by-step plan will serve as a guideline until the European Parliament adopts the Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation (MiCA), which is scheduled for early 2024.

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An example for America?

The Belgian statement could set a precedent for regulatory frameworks around the world, contrary to the views of U.S. Securities Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler, where Ripple Labs continues to battle with the securities regulator over the status of XRP.

The agency previously claimed that most 99% of cryptocurrency trading is securities trading and falls within their regulations.

Additionally, Ethereum’s move to proof-of-stake also put the industry back in the crosshairs of the SEC, with Gensler saying that PoS-based coins could be subject to securities laws.

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