Binance Returns to Belgium After Summer Hiatus
In a significant development, Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, has resumed its operations in Belgium following a brief hiatus this summer. The move comes after the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FMSA), Belgium’s principal financial regulator, required Binance to wind down its operations due to concerns related to regulatory compliance.
Previous Dispute with Regulator
The FMSA’s initial warning was not directly tied to the ongoing legal dispute Binance faces in the United States but rather centered on the exchange’s practice of offering exchange services and hosting wallets in non-European Economic Area (EEA) countries. This practice raised concerns about potential money laundering and illicit activities, according to the FMSA.
The regulator stated, “Firms governed by the law of a country that is not a member of the European Economic Area are prohibited from offering or providing exchange services between virtual currencies and legal currencies or custody wallet services within Belgium.” Failure to comply with this prohibition could result in criminal sanctions.
As a response, the FMSA ordered Binance to cease its operations in Belgium and hand over cryptographic keys to local entities and customers. To continue serving Belgian users who wished to remain with Binance, the exchange directed them to its Polish entity, which had full registration with local authorities.
Exchange Now Deemed Compliant
Now, the tables have turned as Binance has received approval to operate in Belgium once again. The Belgian branch of the exchange is open for new user sign-ups and is offering most of its services to clients who agree to the latest Terms of Service.
The specific changes made to Binance Belgium’s Terms of Service and internal operations to ensure compliance with Belgian authorities remain undisclosed. However, preliminary assessments indicate no major differences on the Belgian portal. It is highly likely that the adjustments primarily involve keeping custody of assets within the European Union. Nevertheless, the platform’s full reactivation is still underway, with some users reporting geo-location-related website issues.
While Binance celebrates this victory in Belgium, the exchange continues to face challenges in U.S. courts, where Binance U.S. and its CEO have been accused of improper conduct. Binance U.S. has already moved to dismiss all charges and is gearing up for a protracted legal battle.
Binance’s return to Belgium underscores the evolving regulatory landscape for cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide, where compliance with local authorities’ requirements is becoming increasingly pivotal to maintaining a global presence in the crypto industry.