Bitcoin, Ethereum are not Securities: Belgian Regulator


Belgian regulators at the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) have announced that cryptocurrencies that do not have an issuer, such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), are not securities. Regulatory bodies around the world are struggling to bring some definition to the emerging asset class, but very few have been able to do so. In the US, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) is currently in a legal battle with Ripple over a similar matter.

The FSMA said that it was receiving a lot of questions regarding the regulatory treatment of cryptocurrencies. The body decided to address some of the confusion, especially those related to whether cryptos are securities.

How do Belgian authorities feel about Bitcoin?

According to FSMA, Belgian regulation is technologically neutral.  Whether an asset uses a blockchain or a more conventional method, it shouldn’t affect whether it is classified as a financial instrument or security.

The regulations stated that transferable instruments with an issuer are likely to be considered securities, much like how they were outlined in a July consultation. This implies that they must adhere to EU law known as MiFID, which requires financiers to be transparent. To avoid conflicts of interest, they must create an honest prospectus of information for possible investors. However, since Bitcoin (BTC) doesn’t have an issuer, it doesn’t count.

The guidance stated that even if certain regulations do not apply, crypto firms must nonetheless follow anti-money laundering measures. Also, in 2014 Belgium passed a law that made it illegal for professionals to offer crypto-based financial products to retail customers. Furthermore, the EU is currently awaiting the implementation of its MiCA (Markets in Crypto Assets regulation) law.

At press time, Bitcoin (BTC) was trading at $16,167.86, down by 2.4% in the last 24 hours. While Ethereum (ETH) was trading at $1,169.70, down by 4% in the last 24 hours.