Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, has reopened registration and access to users in Belgium — three months after the country’s financial regulator ordered it to cease offering services.
Binance’s Belgium shutdown
Belgium’s financial regulator, the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) ordered Binance to immediately cease all offers of virtual currency services in the country in June, accusing the crypto exchange of offering certain services from countries that are not members of the European Economic Area.
People and firms governed in Belgium and not a member of the European Economic Area cannot offer exchange services between virtual currencies and legal currencies or custody wallet services, the regulator said at the time, adding that failing to comply could mean criminal sanctions.
Binance did not dispute the findings. “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," a Binance spokesperson said in June.
"The purpose of the injunction issued by the FSMA in June was to stop Binance from carrying on any business in Belgium from outside the EEA, which is contrary to Belgian law. Binance complied with this injunction," an FSMA spokesperson told The Block in an email.
Binance taps Polish unit to continue serving Belgian users
When contacted by The Block about the resumption, Binance pointed to a previous blog post announcing that Binance Poland sp. z o.o. is now the entity that provides Binance services for Belgian residents.
Last month, Binance said it would use its Poland unit to provide the necessary legal compliance to continue serving its customers in Belgium.
"It is precisely as a result of the FSMA's intervention that Binance now carries out its activities in respect of Belgian clients from an entity established on European territory, namely Poland, which is not contrary to Belgian law," the FSMA spokesperson added.
Earlier this month, Binance said it would delist privacy coins, including Monero (XMR), MobileCoin (MOB), Firo (FIRO) and Horizen (ZEN) in Belgium following the move to serve customers from the country via its Polish unit — which had already delisted the coins.
Binance’s regulatory moves
Binance had a tough summer in Europe, announcing it was also exiting the Netherlands after failing to acquire regulatory approval. It also applied to deregister its local entity in Cyprus and is reportedly under investigation in France for alleged money laundering.
The Securities and Exchange Commission also filed a lawsuit against Binance in June, alleging it had violated U.S. securities laws.
Updated with comment from the FSMA.
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