How to obtain a cryptocurrency license in Belgium

Regulation of the cryptocurrency market is constantly becoming stricter. Nowadays jurisdictions impose high regulatory and risk management requirements on virtual asset service providers.

Despite this, we always manage to find a solution that suits the client. All the time our team provides research of the market and regulations on various markets to find the best jurisdiction. Recently we have made the global overview of the VASP regulation in EEA and ready to share information with our future and existing clients. Today we will look at the features of obtaining a cryptocurrency license in Belgium.

Tax Summary:

  1. Personal income tax – from 25% to 50%
  2. Corporate income tax – 25%

What law/s governs VASP activities?

  1. Loi relative à la prévention du blanchiment de capitaux et du financement du terrorisme et à la limitation de l’utilisation des espèces (AML law).
  2. Arrêté royal relatif au statut et au contrôle des prestataires de services d’échange entre monnaies virtuelles et monnaies légales et des prestataires de services de portefeuilles de conservation.
  3. All registration forms and documents can be found in section “INSCRIPTION” of FSMA website.
  4. Regulation of the FSMA placing restrictive conditions on the distribution of virtual currencies to consumers, approved by the Royal Decree of 8 February 2023 (Regulation).

What activities are included in VASP services?

According to paragraph 35°/2 and 35°/3 of Article 4 of AML law, VASP activities are the following:

  1. Exchange between virtual currencies and fiat currencies consisting of carrying out purchase or sale operations, using capital held directly.
  2. Custody wallets, i.e. private cryptographic key custody services on behalf of clients for the purposes of holding, storing and transferring virtual currencies.

Who is the VASP regulator?

  1. Financial Services and Markets Authority (“FSMA)

What is the procedure for registering a VASP for a local company?

In Belgium there is a mandatory registration with FSMA, if the following conditions are met:

  1. A person provides or intends to provide exchange and custody wallets services on Belgian territory.
  2. A person provides or intends to provide the service as part of your usual professional activity, even if it is complementary or accessory, in return for remuneration, whether this remuneration comes directly or indirectly from those for whom the services are intended.
  3. It is:
    1. A legal entity under Belgian law.
    2. A regulated company under Belgian law (for instance, credit institutions and payment institutions).

The following registration conditions apply cumulatively:

  1. The virtual currency provider must be incorporated as one of the following types of company: a public limited company (la société anonyme), a cooperative society (a cooperative society), a European company (la société européenne) or a European cooperative society (la société coopérative européenne).
  2. A minimum capital of EUR 50 000, which must be fully paid up, is required for registration.
  3. Virtual currency providers governed by Belgian law must establish their central administration (where the company is operated and where management decisions are taken; the place where documents are kept available for FSMA) and registered office in Belgium.
  4. The persons responsible for the effective management of the service provider are exclusively natural persons. These persons have the appropriate expertise and professional repute required to perform their duties.
  5. FSMA must be informed of:
    1. The identity of the service provider’s shareholders who hold a stake, whether or not conferring voting rights, of at least 5% in the service provider, and the amounts of these stakes.
    2. The identity of persons exercising control over the service provider.
    3. Evidence that such shareholdings and control do not hinder the proper exercise of FSMA’s supervisory role.

These shareholders and these people who exercise control over the service provider must have the necessary qualities with regard to the need to guarantee sound and prudent management.

  1. The  virtual currency provider must comply with the AML law and regulations taken in execution of this law (more here). He must also establish an independent audit function responsible for testing the mandatory policies, procedures and internal control measures, as well as procedures to verify that its staff members have adequate good repute based on the risks linked to the activities to be carried out.
  2. The virtual currency provider must be organized in such a way as to:
    1. Fulfill its legal and regulatory obligations at all times.
    2. Manage all of its operational risks, which notably involves having a resilient and secure IT system at all times.
  3. The virtual currency provider must pay contributions to cover FSMA’s operating costs.

A person must send FSMA a registration application, together with the information and documents required as a potential provider, by e-mail to, quoting the company number.

FSMA will take a decision no later than 3 months after receipt of the complete file, i.e. the registration application and all the required documents.

Is there any specific authorization required for a VASP from another EU member state to provide services in this jurisdiction?

Virtual currency providers of exchange services and custody wallet services governed by the law of another member state of the EEA are also deemed to be established in Belgium if they have a branch or any other form of permanent establishment in Belgium (e.g. representative, distributor).

Electronic infrastructures installed on Belgian territory, through which persons governed by the law of another Member State offer services linked to virtual currencies, are assimilated to these forms of establishment. These include ATMs, which enable virtual currencies to be exchanged for fiat currencies, and vice versa.

The VASP governed by the law of other member states of the EEA and established in Belgium, with the exception of a service provider whose sole establishment in Belgium is an ATM, must, for operations carried out on Belgian territory, establish its central administration in Belgium.

In addition, VASPs governed by the law of another Member State and established on Belgian territory other than through a branch (e.g. via an agent, distributor or ATM), designate a central contact point located in Belgium. The designation of this contact point is essential insofar as this central contact point will be the representative of the service provider in Belgium, who will be responsible for ensuring, on behalf of the latter, compliance with AML legislation, and for facilitating the exercise, by the FSMA, of its supervisory missions, in particular by providing it, at its request, with any documents or information necessary for the exercise of its missions and supervisory prerogatives.

EEA virtual currency providers are allowed to freely provide their services in Belgium on a cross-border basis without the need to register with FSMA (provided they do not have a physical presence in Belgium). 

What is the liability for the activities of a VASP from another EU member state without local registration/authorization in this jurisdiction?

When FSMA becomes aware that a legal entity is active in Belgium as a provider of virtual currency services without being registered (or authorized provisionally, as the case may be) in the register(s) of service providers maintained by FSMA, it is its responsibility to intervene in the face of such illicit activities.

To this end, FSMA can order the person concerned to cease the activities in question immediately. If the latter fails to comply with the injunction, FSMA may impose a penalty. In certain cases, FSMA may publish its decision to impose a penalty on its website.

In addition, administrative fines may be imposed.

Since the illegal exercise of activities for which registration is mandatory constitutes a criminal offense, FSMA can pass on any information it has to the public prosecutor’s office. In accordance with Art. 136 of AML law: “Anyone who engages in the activity of a provider of exchange services between virtual currency and fiat currency or of a provider of custody wallet services without being registered shall be punished by imprisonment of between 1 month and 1 year and a fine of between EUR 50 and EUR 10 000, or by one of these penalties only″.

Manimama Legal & Growth Agency provides a gateway for the companies operating as the virtual asset wallet and exchange providers allowing to enter to the markets legally. We are ready to offer an appropriate support in obtaining a license with lower founding and operating costs. We offer KYC/AML launch, support in risk assessment, legal services, legal opinions, advice on general data protection provisions, contracts and all necessary legal and business tools to start business of virtual asset service provider.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter, not to be considered as a legal consultation.