New rules on advertisements for virtual currencies enter into force

Press release

The FSMA has issued a Regulation governing the distribution of virtual currencies to consumers. This Regulation was approved by Royal Decree of 8 February 2023 (Belgian Official Gazette of 17 March 2023). It entered into force this Wednesday, 17 May 2023.

The Regulation imposes various obligations, including:

  • rules as to content, to ensure that advertisements are not inaccurate or misleading;
  • the insertion of mandatory statements and, in particular, the brief warning 'Virtual currency, real risks. The only guarantee in crypto is risk.', as well as a longer warning summing up the main risks associated with an investment in virtual currencies;
  • the obligation to notify to the FSMA all advertisements to be used in a mass media campaign at least 10 days before their dissemination, in the form in which they will be disseminated.

From 17 May onwards, every new advertisement that is disseminated in connection with a distribution of virtual currencies to consumers has to comply with these rules, regardless of the channel used for the dissemination (social media, internet sites, physical medium).

The Regulation includes a transitional regime for advertisements that have already been disseminated before the entry into force of the Regulation. These advertisements must comply with the Regulation by 17 June 2023. Cases targeted by the transitional regime are notably websites or mobile applications of service providers to carry out transactions on a platform and that have already been disseminated on 17 May 2023.

More information on the Regulation and on the practical modalities can be found here