In the most recent development, Belgium has joined the ranks of countries taking decisive action against Binance. The authorities have now issued an order demanding the cessation of services provided by the company.
In violation of a prohibition, the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has accused Binance of offering and providing exchange services in Belgium.
These services involve transactions between virtual currencies and legal currencies, as well as custody wallet services, originating from countries outside the European Economic Area, according to the regulator’s statement.
This recent action by Belgium follows reports of a French investigation into Binance and a confirmed visit from French authorities.
Additionally, a legal dispute between Binance and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is currently underway. These factors have contributed to the evolving situation surrounding the crypto exchange.
The notice read:
The FSMA has therefore ordered Binance to cease, with immediate effect, offering or providing any and all such services in Belgium
Binance Expresses Disappointment Over Decision
Based on the country’s regulation, any countries or individuals not included in the European Economic Area are explicitly prohibited from engaging in the offering or provision of exchange services between virtual currencies and legal currencies, as well as custody wallet services, within Belgium.
This prohibition applies even if such activities are considered supplementary or ancillary to their professional operations.
A Binance spokesperson stated:
We are disappointed to learn that the FSMA has come to this decision despite our ongoing conversations. 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.
As part of the order issued, Binance will be obligated to reach out to all of its clients based in Belgium. The exchange must facilitate the return of all cryptocurrencies and private keys that were under its custody for these clients.
This measure aims to ensure compliance with the regulatory directives and safeguard the assets of Belgium-based customers.
The Belgium investigation has identified 27 companies that are categorized as “Binance operators” and are deemed to be involved in the operational and/or technical aspects of providing these services. Among these companies, 19 are situated outside the European Economic Area.
The press release mentioned:
Despite several requests for information made to Binance, the latter has not been able to demonstrate to the requisite legal standard that the legal entities that carry out the services of the above-mentioned type in Belgium are in fact based in the European Economic Area and are authorized, based on their domestic law, to provide such services in Belgium.
Binance has recently made an announcement stating its decision to wind down operations across Europe. The company claims that this move is motivated by a desire to have fewer regulated entities.
As a result, Binance is exiting from both Cyprus and the Netherlands, signaling its intention to discontinue its services in these countries.
Featured image From UnSplash, Chart from TradingView.com