The details behind Binance’s failed efforts to register for a virtual asset service provider (VASP) license in the Netherlands remain unclear due to the confidentiality requirements of the Dutch central bank’s supervisory laws.
On June 16, Binance announced it would terminate its services in the Netherlands with immediate effect, having failed to get the all-clear from De Nederlandse Bank (DNB). From July 17, Dutch customers will only be able to withdraw assets from the platform, while trading and deposits were stopped on the date of the announcement.
Binance claimed it had undergone a “comprehensive registration application process” to obtain a VASP license in the Netherlands and explored “alternative avenues” to serve Dutch residents in the country. The exchange indicated that it would continue its effort to obtain authorization to provide its services and products in the country.
Cointelegraph reached out to Tobias Oudejans, DNB press officer for supervision, fintech, cryptocurrencies, resolution and payment systems, to ascertain the final details of Binance’s failed registration efforts.
Oudejans said the central bank could not share more details about Binance’s registration due to legal requirements of supervisory laws:
“Because of confidentiality as demanded by our supervisory laws, we cannot elaborate on anything concerning our supervision on individual institutions or the possible licensing trajectories they may be in.”
Oudejans added that the DNB wanted to stress that its perceived silence over this specific supervisory outcome and similar issues “might wrongly be attributed to an unwillingness to comment,“ but was necessitated by Dutch laws.
Binance would have joined a list of 35 VASPs registered with the DNB. This includes the likes of Coinbase Custody International, Coinbase Europe, eToro (Europe), BitPay and Bitstamp.
Oudejans said VASP registration requirements in the Netherlands align with similar requirements for other financial institutions under the DNB’s supervision. These are based on the Netherlands Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Act.
The implementation of the European Union’s recently published Markets in Crypto-Assets regulation (MiCA) could provide Binance an alternative avenue to operate in the Netherlands come 2024. As Oudejans explained, the global exchange could gain access to the Dutch market if it has met the necessary requirements in other EU member states:
“It is not yet clear in what way MiCA will be implemented in the Netherlands, but indeed it looks like it will be a different law than the WWFT and possibly on a European level, there may be access to the Dutch market for registered entities from other EU-countries.”
Binance has already indicated that it is ramping up efforts to be fully compliant with the new EU rules set out in MiCA.
Binance was handed a 3.3 million euro ($3.6 million) fine by the DNB in July 2022 for operating without clearance in the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, Coinbase received the green light from the DNB in September 2022 as it started to explore expansion away from the United States and into Europe. The U.S. exchange is embroiled in a high-profile legal battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over allegations that it has been operating as an unregistered securities exchange, broker and clearing agency.