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Set Up a Cryptocurrency Company in Belgium

Set Up a Cryptocurrency Company in Belgium

Cryptocurrency companies are gaining more popularity, along with the growing financial services and financial technology industry.

Belgium has yet to formulate a complete regulatory framework for virtual currencies, however, Government officials have expressed their interest in supporting a legislation that would allow a certain level of control over these currencies. 

While a crypto license in Belgium is not available per se, companies engaged in certain types of cryptocurrency activities (as detailed below) will be required to register for this purpose.

In order to set up a cryptocurrency company in Belgium, investors need to observe the local incorporation laws but also the provisions of the local tax and financial regulatory authorities.

Our company formation agents in Belgium can help you open a cryptocurrency company.

We invite you to watch the following video on opening a cryptocurrency company:

Cryptocurrency companies in Belgium

Virtual currencies are known as cryptocurrencies because of the cryptography they use for security. This provides them with a significant security feature and makes them difficult to counterfeit.

Moreover, a feature that is appealing to many investors is that a state central authority does not issue this currency and it is thus invulnerable to Government manipulation. 

Cryptocurrency companies allow individuals to buy, store and deal in virtual currencies.

The most popular one is Bitcoin but other competitors have also emerged since the first one was launched in 2009. Bitcoin Exchange platforms have also been developed and they act much like a traditional stock exchange.

Investors who want to open a cryptocurrency company in Belgium can ask one of our company formation experts in Belgium for more information on specific issues such as the smallest cryptocurrency units or the digital copy as one of the security features available on these platforms.

The crypto license in Belgium

As previously mentioned, there is no specific license companies apply for after registration with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises.

However, what can be perceived as an equivalent of a crypto license is the registration with the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) for companies that engage in crypto exchange services or custodial wallet services.

The following conditions must be met cumulatively and permanently by companies in Belgium who wish to remain registered as a virtual currency services provider:

  1. Company type: the service provider can only be incorporated in the form of a corporation (not a partnership or sole trader); this can be a public limited company, cooperative society or European company;
  2. Capital: the company must have a minimum capital of EUR 50,000 which needs to be fully paid up;
  3. Registered office: this must be located in Belgium; providers registered in another Member State who set up a permanent establishment (other than a branch) in Belgium must also have a central point of contact located in Belgium;
  4. Management: the individuals appointed as managers can only be natural persons who have appropriate expertise and professional integrity;
  5. Shareholders: information regarding the shareholders, as well as the individuals who exercise control over the cryptocurrency company is provided to the FSMA;
  6. Money laundering: the company must comply with the provisions of the law on the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing;
  7. Organization: the company must maintain a robust organization at all times, allowing it to implement secure IT systems and manage all of the operational risks;
  8. Contribution: a company registered for the purpose of offering virtual currency services in Belgium is subject to the payment of operating costs to the FSMA.

As far as the annual contribution to the FSMA are concerned:

  • an intermediary pays an annual contribution that includes a basic, annual amount;
  • an additional amount of 20% of the basic amount is due by intermediaries in investment services;
  • an additional 15% amount of the basic amount is due per person in contact with the public;
  • a contribution is due to the general operating costs of the FSMA;
  • from collective registrations, from January 1 2021, the maximum costs per intermediation activity are EUR 210,694;
  • the annual contribution is calculated on the basis of the situation on January 1st, each fiscal year.

Documents required for the crypto license in Belgium application

The list below includes the main documents that are provided by cryptocurrency companies that apply for registration with FSMA, which can be seen as the equivalent of the license specific for these activities.

  1. Documents concerning the applicant: the company’s constitutive documents or the draft constitutive documents if the company is in the process of being registered; the application for registration, proof of minimum capital;
  2. Documents concerning the individuals assigned to key positions: criminal record extract, filled in questionnaire for the candidate for a regulated function; the candidate’s CV;
  3. Documents concerning the shareholders: the filled-in questionnaire for the shareholders and/or the persons exercising control over the company’
  4. Other documents: filled-in questionnaire on compliance with the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, the company’s organizational chart.

The aforementioned questionnaires that are to be filled in by the applicant have a mandatory template and are offered upon request by the FSMA. Other documents may be required.

Investors who wish to apply for registration with FSMA, which can be seen as obtaining a crypto license in Belgium, can reach out to our team for assistance during the application process.

Company formation in Belgium

In order to open a company in Belgium that deals in cryptocurrency or uses blockchain, investors will need to follow the basic incorporation and registration steps.

There are several types of companies that may be opened by foreign investors in Belgium and full foreign ownership is permitted in the country. All companies are registered with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises. Once the company receives its number it will also be used as a VAT number.

One of Belgian company formation agents can help you with detailed information on the incorporation process and the start-up costs. 

5 cryptocurrency business ideas in Belgium

Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies which are safe to use because they are based on cryptography and are not subject to counterfeit like regular banknotes. Another important feature is that it is not issued by any authority.

Cryptocurrencies are becoming more popular and so is their use and reachability.  Buying and selling Bitcoin and other types of virtual currencies remains one of the main activities in the field, however, entrepreneurs can explore other options.

Below are a set of 5 cryptocurrency business ideas in Belgium for investors who want to open a Belgian company:

  1. Open a cryptocurrency exchange: a basic service that allows for cash/digital currency changes;
  2. Open a cryptocurrency trading platform: a type of stock exchange designed for cryptocurrencies;
  3. Blockchain development services: software engineering and development services for blockchain technology;
  4. Digital wallet company: a mobile or digital wallet services that allows for much more than cryptocurrency payments;
  5. Cryptocurrency ATM: like an ATM for traditional money, used by individuals who wish to quickly purchase cryptocurrency divisions;

1. Open a cryptocurrency exchange

This is simply the monetization of the fact that normal currencies are converted into Bitcoin and other types of virtual coins. Entrepreneurs can set up the platform that will allow investors and individuals alike to convert money into digital currencies.

2. Open a cryptocurrency trading platform

This option means that entrepreneurs will start a new platform that will engage in cryptocurrency trading activities. In most respects, this platform will be similar to a traditional stock exchange.

3. Blockchain development services

Blockchain is the technology behind cryptocurrencies and it was created for the purpose of conceiving the Bitcoin. Now, there are many more applications for this type of technology and investors in Belgium can help clients with blockchain development, including software and digital services

4. Digital wallet company

Software companies can work on developing digital wallets – essentially an e-payment system that can be adapted for multiple purposes and can include Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency payments.

5. Set up a cryptocurrency ATM

A cryptocurrency ATM or BTM, as it’s also called, will essentially mean that the investor will need to have the available capital and to set up an actual machine that will allow individual clients to insert cash and purchase small cryptocurrency denominations. 

Cryptocurrencies, and the blockchain technology behind them, present a host of opportunities for investors.

Entrepreneurs who would like to know more about how to open a company in Belgium and start their business can contact us for personalized assistance.

We can help those interested apply for registration with the FSMA, the equivalent of the crypto license in Bellgium.

Our company formation agents can also help you if you need other corporate services, such as VAT registration in Belgium or trademark registration services.