The Belgian Financial Services and Markets Authority, FSMA, has asked the government for more regulation on crypto.
Indeed, during a hearing in the Belgian Senate, FSMA’s Chairman Jean-Paul Servais made a specific proposal on this issue, urging them to establish a new legal framework for the sale, purchase and use of virtual currencies and all related financial products.
The hearing was held at the Belgian Senate’s Committee on Cross-cutting Issues, following the presentation of a proposal to this end. The Chairman also provided the Committee with a number of information on cryptocurrencies, explaining their special features, and on European and international initiatives in this sector, in particular concerning the regulatory environment and the fight against fraud.
Representatives of the Belgian National Bank and the Belgian Financial Information Processing Unit (CTIF-CFI) were also present at the hearing.
Servais highlighted the inefficiency of the Belgian authorities in addressing the significant growth of this sector, citing instead the activities of countries such as Thailand, Russia, China, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia and Algeria.
To be fair, the crypto activities in these specific countries do not really excel in terms of transparency, impartiality and defence of citizens’ rights.
The Chairman also spoke about the proliferation of digital currencies and the fraudulent activities that use these currencies to raise funds from unsuspecting investors.
“Due to their non-traceability, the bitcoins are and other virtual currencies very popular in the context of cyber crime: they are ubiquitous on darknet, since they can become cyber crime committed without leaving traces”.
In reality, on-chain transactions made for example with Bitcoin are not only completely traceable, but even public, so Servais probably does not have a good knowledge of these technologies.
He also cited a 2014 royal decree prohibiting the sale to retail investors of any professional product based on virtual currencies, and some warnings from some economists about the consequences of the crypto-economy.
In this regard, he asked:
“A legal framework should be established without delay this virtual money and related financial products, in particular, to protect consumers and the use of this virtual currency for criminal objectives”.
However, the Commission’s reaction to these words is not known, so it is not possible to imagine what consequences it might have generated.