Bit4You Affairs in Doubt Even Before CoinLoan Collapse, Belgian Regulator Says

FSMA’s comments suggest the exchange could have lost its license or potentially faced prosecution, even before Bit4You's Estonian corporate partner filed for insolvency.

AccessTimeIconMay 8, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 8:35 a.m. UTC

Bit4You, the oldest crypto exchange in Belgium, was already facing loss of its registration or prosecution, even before it announced it was suspending activities in April, according to a Monday statement by the country’s financial regulator.

Bit4You said it was suspending activities in April, citing the collapse in Estonia of its service provider CoinLoan which held many of its funds – but revelations made today by Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) suggest there may be more to the story.

“FSMA had previously notified Bit4You of its intention to refuse its request for registration” even before the crypto exchange asked to have its provisional registration withdrawn on May 2, the regulator said in a statement.

FSMA had “informed the public prosecutor of irregularities noted in regard to the former management” while assessing the company’s application under money-laundering rules, the statement said, adding that the company had been “forced to modify all its governance structures” as a result of the regulator’s findings.

Belgium’s crypto registration regime took effect in May 2022, but existing companies such as Bit4You were able to keep a provisional license while their fuller application was considered.

In an April 26 blog post, Bit4You said it was suspending activities due to the CoinLoan insolvency, and subsequently itself filed for administration in a Belgian court.

The Belgian public prosecutor's office told CoinDesk that it had "opened a file on Bit4You following the accusation by FSMA," adding that "an investigation is ongoing."

Bit4You did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

FSMA statements have been translated from French.

UPDATE (May 9, 08:35 UTC): Adds comment from Belgian public prosecutor.

Edited by Nelson Wang.


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Jack Schickler

Jack Schickler was a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.

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