Crypto giant Binance sidesteps Belgium ban by redirecting users to Poland

After being banned from Belgium in June, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange platform, Binance, has resumed operations in the country by redirecting customers through its entity in Poland. 

Binance said its Polish division would comply with the “regulatory obligations” for residents of Belgium, who can now expect an uninterrupted experience on the crypto exchange platform. 

However, in keeping with the regulatory requirements, Belgian customers will need to comply with the terms defined by Binance Poland. This may include submitting specific KYC (Know Your Customer) documents to meet the stipulations of Polish regulators. 

The move comes roughly two months after Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) ordered Binance to cease all services in the country, citing violations of anti-money laundering requirements. The main issue was that it was serving Belgian users from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). 

“Despite several requests for information made to Binance, the latter has not been able to demonstrate to the requisite legal standard that the legal entities that carry out the services of the above-mentioned type in Belgium are in fact based in the European Economic Area,” said FSMA.

Nevertheless, the watchdog gave Binance a way out by suggesting it could operate in Belgium via a “legal entity governed by the law of another member state of the European Economic Area [EEA] that is duly authorised by its home member state.” That includes Poland.  

Binance was founded in Shanghai but later moved to Tokyo and then Malta, and now has a holding company based in the Cayman Islands. While the global crypto exchange has sidestepped this latest hurdle, it has faced a number of regulatory entanglements since its launch.  

Binance halted its services for Dutch users in July, citing a failure to obtain a virtual asset service provider license. In the same month, it dropped its license application in Germany as the country’s financial watchdog was reportedly unwilling to grant the request. In addition, Binance and its CEO Changpeng Zhao are facing a lawsuit from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

Until the EU implements the recently passed Markets in Crypto-Asset (MiCA) Act, the crypto industry remains largely unregulated in the bloc. MiCA will be the world’s first comprehensive set of rules governing cryptocurrencies and aims to regulate virtual currencies much like regular money.

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