Belgium Cracks Down on Crypto Ads: New Rule Requires Stark Warning on Risk

Belgium Cracks Down on Crypto Ads: New Rule Requires Stark Warning on Risk

Belgium Cracks Down on Crypto Ads: New Rule Requires Stark Warning on Risk

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Belgium’s financial regulator has outlined new crypto advertising laws that require virtual currency firms to include a stark warning about potential risks in their advertisements. 

The new requirement is part of a crackdown by Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), which was given new powers to supervise digital currency advertising. 

“There is no legal framework yet governing these products, and they have no underlying assets in the ‘real’ world,” the agency said in a post on its website. “They are often subject to wild price fluctuations and are vulnerable to fraud and IT-related risks.”

All in all, the new regulation has three aspects. In the first place, it will require crypto ads to be accurate and use clear language, with no statements on future returns of value. 

Second, there must be a mandatory warning on all advertising, warning: “Virtual currencies, real risks. The only guarantee in crypto is risk.” Furthermore, a “broader warning should sum up the various risks in greater detail.”

Finally, campaigns with a target audience of 25,000 or more (mass campaigns) to promote a product related to crypto would have to be submitted to the FSMA at least 10 days in advance, allowing the regulator to intervene if needed.

“Thanks to the new regulation, the FSMA will be able to check whether advertisements for virtual currencies are accurate and not misleading and whether the advertisements contain the compulsory warnings of risk,” Jean-Paul Servais, FSMA’s chairman, said in a statement.

Belgium is the latest European country to introduce new crypto ads regulations. Other countries like the United Kingdom and Canada have also imposed restrictions on crypto ads.

FSMA Survey Finds Men Account for 80% of Crypto Investors

In preparation for its new role, the FSMA commissioned a survey of 1,000 Belgian investors who placed money in investment products beyond savings, deposit, and pension accounts.

More than a third (34%) of investors surveyed in the age group between 16 to 29 said they invested in digital currencies, with the proportion falling to 11% for the 50–59 age group. Men made up 80% of the buyers. 

In terms of geography, investors were concentrated in Flanders (63%), with only 22% living in Wallonia and 15% in Brussels.

The survey revealed that crypto investments tended to be smaller than traditional ones, with only 15% of investors holding more than 10,000 euros worth of crypto and 31% holding less than 500 euros worth. 

Moreover, crypto investors were more dependent on the advice of friends, family, apps, and “robo-advice” than traditional investors.



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