Cryptocurrency Regulatory Landscape in Belize Prior to 2024

As of 2023, Belize’s approach to cryptocurrency regulation was cautious and evolving. The country had not established a comprehensive legal framework specifically for cryptocurrencies. The Financial Services Commission (FSC) of Belize, which is responsible for regulating trading businesses in the country, had not issued legal guidance for the use and trade of virtual assets including cryptocurrency. This situation was clarified by the FSC following reports that Belize had joined an international standard for the exchange of information between tax authorities in countries with active cryptocurrency markets – the Crypto-Asset Reporting Framework (CARF).

The CARF, formulated by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), aims to ensure tax compliance and clamp down on tax evasion. The Framework establishes a common reporting standard for crypto-asset reporting. Belize’s involvement in the CARF is significant as it indicates a move towards greater transparency and cooperation in cryptocurrency-related tax matters. The agreeing jurisdictions, including Belize, are expected to transpose the CARF to their domestic laws by 2027, subject to national legislative procedures.

However, it’s crucial to note that, as of 2023, Belize had no legal framework specifically for virtual assets, inclusive of cryptocurrency. This was confirmed by an FSC notice, which also referred to the Financial Services Commission Act, Act No. 8 of 2023. Section 81 of this Act bars business concerning virtual assets without a license, and no such license would be issued for any activity or operation related to virtual assets until the end of 2025. The Act required any person conducting such business before April 15, 2023, to notify the Commission and cease such activities by July 15, 2023, with the possibility of criminal sanctions in cases of violation.

In conclusion, Belize’s legislative landscape for cryptocurrencies up to 2023 was characterized by a lack of specific legal frameworks for virtual assets. While the country took steps towards participating in international efforts to regulate and standardize the reporting of crypto assets for tax purposes, it maintained a cautious stance on the domestic front by not issuing licenses for cryptocurrency-related activities and operations until at least the end of 2025​​​​​​.

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