The Dutch central bank said on Monday it had fined Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, more than three million euros for breaking Dutch law on registering its activities.
“On April 25, the Dutch central bank imposed an administrative fine of 3,325,000 euros ($3,376,000) on Binance Holdings Ltd,” the DNB said.
“The fine was imposed because Binance offered crypto services in the Netherlands without registering them with the DNB as is legally required,” it said.
Binance has since lodged a request to be registered and appealed against the fine, the DNB said.
Companies that offer cryptocurrency services in the Netherlands are obliged to register their activities under a law designed to prevent money laundering and financing terrorism.
“If there wasn’t this obligation to register, it would be more difficult to control the risk of criminal financial movements,” the bank said.
It described Binance’s “infringements” of the law as “very serious”.
In May, Binance obtained approval from the French financial markets authority AMF to operate in France.
This is a European first for the company. The British authorities said last year its activities could not be supervised correctly and posed a risk to consumers.
Binance is the biggest exchange in the cryptocurrency market. It boasted $32 trillion in transactions last year and 120 million customers.
Cryptocurrencies operate in a largely unregulated corner of the economy and the value of the major ones tends to fluctuate wildly.
After a boom during the Covid-19 pandemic, their value has plummeted in recent months. As much as two-thirds of the market value of the sector has been wiped out.
Enthusiasts regard cryptocurrencies and the technology around them as the foundation of a decentralised alternative to the mainstream banking system and argue against any regulation.
But national authorities are increasingly leaning towards stiffer rules and consumer protection, as crypto firms push into the mainstream with high-profile TV advertising and celebrity endorsements.