According to the Financial Services Modernization Act (FSMA), securities laws do not apply to bitcoin and other decentralized cryptocurrencies.
The Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) of Belgium has provided an explanation as to why it is of the opinion that bitcoin, ether, and other cryptocurrencies of a similar nature cannot be considered securities or investment instruments. This was in response to multiple requests for clarification that were made by citizens and businesses.
According to its position, which was published on Thursday, the country's securities laws do not apply to digital assets because they do not have an issuer and are generated by a computer code, as opposed to the execution of an agreement between an issuer and an investor. This means that the laws do not apply to digital assets.
The regulatory body did note, however, that other regulations may be applicable to these crypto assets as well as the individuals who are providing certain services related to them if these crypto assets have a payment or exchange function, if they are exchangeable, or if they are fungible. This was brought to the attention of the public by the regulatory body.
The Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA) further stated that despite the absence of specific legislation, cryptocurrencies can be equated to securities if they are incorporated into financial instruments and have an issuer such as an individual or a legal entity. This is despite the fact that there is currently no legislation that specifically addresses cryptocurrencies.
In the interest of assisting interested parties, who have been sending an increasing number of questions regarding the financial rules concerning crypto assets, the authority has adopted a "stepwise plan" to offer a series of guidelines for the classification of crypto assets. This is done with the goal of providing assistance to those parties.
The Belgian financial regulator highlighted that the strategy does not favor any particular technology in its implementation. It went on to explain that "the qualification as security, financial instrument, or investment instrument does not depend on the technology that is being used," adding that it is prepared to update the plan in order to reflect future changes in regulatory requirements.
One of these events could be the imminent adoption of the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) framework that was agreed upon by European institutions and member states at the end of June. This framework will govern the trading of cryptocurrencies within the European Union. The Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA) initiated a public comment period in July regarding the classification of crypto assets. In the beginning of this year, the regulator implemented new registration requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet service providers.