If we look at the history of the global financial sector, cryptocurrencies can be termed as a new asset class. Nonetheless, the crypto market has made huge strides over the past decade, crossing the $2 trillion mark in 2021. What’s even better is that this industry seems to be just getting started!
Are you looking to invest in or trade cryptocurrencies in Belgium? We’ve created this comprehensive guide for scores of investors/traders like you, and have detailed 5 simple steps in which you can learn how to buy cryptocurrency in Belgium today.
There are two prominent ways in which you can buy cryptocurrency in Belgium, in 2021 – through an online cryptocurrency broker or an exchange platform.
When you use a cryptocurrency exchange, you’ll buy crypto directly from the market, using a trading pair of your choice. Please note, in this case you will be investing in the ownership of the actual crypto coins, and will have the option to use a crypto wallet for their safe storage.
Although you can buy actual crypto coins from a broker too, these entities serve as intermediaries between you and the crypto market, getting you the best possible price for the concerned cryptocurrency. However, brokers are generally used for trading cryptocurrencies via derivatives like CFDs, Futures and Options, enabling people to speculate on crypto prices, without exchanging any actual coins. This type of trading does away with the need of setting up a wallet too.
Below we have listed some of the best online brokerage and exchange platforms you can use to buy cryptocurrency in Belgium.
Cryptocurrencies being a fairly new asset class compared to the conventional tradable assets, new buyers often find buying them a little intimidating. We’ve made the process easier for you and have explained it clearly in 5 simple steps below.
To begin, please note, there’s no right or wrong platform to buy cryptocurrency in Belgium. It all comes down to your personal preferences and the medium that seems most comfortable to you. That being said, it’s always better to transact with well-regulated platforms licensed by leading global authorities and approved by Belgium’s government to operate in the country. Doing so will ensure that your crypto funds stay safe and you’re not left stranded in the event of any mishap.
While it’s a norm amongst long-term and occasional crypto investors to opt for exchange platforms to buy cryptocurrencies, short-term traders normally use brokerage platforms to exploit the short-term price fluctuations in the crypto market. Your decision to choose a specific service provider should be based on multiple factors including your trading strategy, investment approach and risk appetite. The platform’s regulatory status, customer service, fees, security features, user-interface and offered cryptocurrencies should be considered as well.
After you’ve successfully identified the trading platform you’d like to use to buy crypto, you’ll need to register with it first. While most of these platforms will ask for your name, email id, residential address and phone number to open an account, some may shorten this process by allowing you to sign up with a Gmail or social media account.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll be asked to verify your identity after signup. This is to comply with the platform’s KYC (Know Your Customer) process, and is compulsory as per the global CFT (Combating the Financing of Terrorism) and AML (Anti Money Laundering) laws. The idea behind this is to make such portals secure for everyone involved. This verification can be normally completed by providing a government-approved photo ID card and a proof of address. You may even be asked to click and upload a selfie by some platforms.
Once the KYC process is complete, you’ll be able to deposit funds into your account with the broker /exchange. Belgium, being an integral part of Europe, is served by a large number of trading portals that will readily accept Euro deposits through credit/debit cards, prepaid cards, bank transfers and third-party payment processors such as PayPal. Please note, the available modes of payment may vary from platform to platform. Additionally, there may be different fees, speed and convenience levels associated with each payment option.
Depending upon the payment method chosen by you, it may take anywhere from a few hours to a few days for the funds to become available for the cryptocurrency purchase.
Cryptocurrency exchanges will allow you to buy and own actual crypto coins, which can then be either stored in the exchange-provided web wallet, or in an external crypto wallet of your liking. These platforms are usually preferred by long-term or occasional crypto buyers who prefer holding onto their coins, and wait for their value to appreciate.
Brokers on the other hand are experts in offering crypto trading via derivative products like Futures and Contract for Differences (CFDs). These are the favourites of traders who like speculating on the fluctuating prices of cryptocurrencies, and don’t want to deal with the complexity of buying and storing the coins.
However, as is the case in any market, there are exceptions in the crypto market too. You may find crypto exchanges like Binance that also deal with derivatives like Options and Futures, while eToro, a recognised crypto broker, facilitates easy spot purchases of crypto coins.
At this point, when you have successfully made a crypto purchase or have opened a trade, you can take certain additional steps to safeguard or make the most of your investment, for instance:
If you have bought crypto coins on an exchange with a long-term perspective, you can move your funds from the vulnerable online wallet, to a self-owned crypto wallet.
If the purchased cryptocurrency can be staked, you can opt to do so through a crypto wallet or exchange that supports such activity.
There are many cryptocurrencies that allow owners to participate in their governance, to the extent of the amount owned by them. You can avail this privilege and become an active contributor in deciding that crypto’s future.
Investors comfortable with derivatives trading can hedge their primary cryptocurrency investment by opening corresponding positions in the derivatives market.
As highlighted earlier, the payment methods accepted by online exchanges and brokers in Belgium may vary from portal to portal. There are several European and international trading platforms serving Belgian crypto investors/traders. It’s quite unlikely that you’ll not find a payment option convenient to you. A large number of Belgian buyers actively use payment modes like credit/debit cards, Paypal, Skrill, Neteller and bank transfers for their crypto purchases.
Buy Cryptocurrency with Cash – Can be done at Bitcoin ATMs and peer-to-peer exchanges.
Buy Cryptocurrency with Credit Card – Convenient and quick, but involves a higher transaction fee.
Buy Cryptocurrency with Bank Transfer – Inexpensive and extensively used, but takes more time.
Buy Cryptocurrency with PayPal – Offers a good mix of convenience and cost, but may not be available at all platforms for fund deposits.
Buy Cryptocurrency with Bitcoin – Can be used on almost all exchange platforms to buy any cryptocurrency.
Spurred on by the remarkable growth witnessed by many cryptocurrencies like Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Binance Coin (BNB) and Cardano (ADA) over the past decade, the crypto industry continues to expand with each passing year. Owing to the constant volatility witnessed in this space, expert traders have booked notable profits by trading cryptocurrencies time and again.
Apart from the Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), you can invest in various new blockchain products ranging from Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) to Decentralised Finance (DeFi) crypto coins today.
There are many valid reasons, both for speculative and long-term investors, to buy or trade cryptocurrencies starting today. Looking at it closely, it’s a transformative industry that’s well on its way to disrupt every aspect of our daily lives, just like the internet did back in the 90s. However, as with any investment, you should tread cautiously and take all possible measures to safeguard your interests. For instance, long-term investors can use cold wallets to safely store their crypto holdings and carry out thorough research into a coin’s background and fundamentals before investing any funds. Short-term traders on the other hand can use stop-loss, trailing stop-loss, take-profit, limit orders and hedging to prevent losses and safeguard their returns.
The best way to analyse crypto market’s performance overall is to look at its flagship currency, Bitcoin (BTC). BTC rallied right from early 2021 and reached an all-time high of $64,863 in April 2021, more than three times its high witnessed during the 2017 bull-run.
Belgium doesn’t have any specific legislation for cryptocurrency trading and investments in the country, at the time of writing. Rather, it uses the existing legal framework for regulating this industry. Therefore, other than obtaining licenses from leading global and/or European regulatory authorities, crypto-related businesses must also obtain authorisation from Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) and National Bank of Belgium (NBB), to offer services in the country. Please keep in mind, anyone who makes a profit from trading or buying cryptocurrencies in Belgium, must pay a 33% tax on that sum, and mention it under ‘Miscellaneous Income’, at the time of filing tax returns. Learn more about tax and legislation in our Belgium tax guide.
There are various merchants and service providers that actively accept cryptocurrencies in Belgium. While majority of them take Bitcoin as a valid form of payment, some may even be open to other prominent crypto coins including Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Ripple (XRP). However, please check with the specific outlet to ensure that it does accept a cryptocurrency of your choice. Here’s a link to CoinMap.org that shows all the places currently accepting cryptocurrencies/Bitcoin in Belgium. As can be seen, the maximum concentration of such businesses is in the cities of Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges.
Furthermore, there are 21 Bitcoin ATMs spread all over Belgium, with 4 in Brussels and 6 each in Ghent and Antwerp. While most of these ATMs facilitate easy purchase of BTC, some even allow you to buy & sell BTC and other crypto coins like Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).