A draft decree on the Belarusian’s high-tech park which is likely to make digital currency in that country legal is awaiting the president’s signature to make it legal. If the draft passes, among other provisions of the crypto and the initial coin offering (ICO) tokens will be approved and they will begin to circulate. Furthermore, the exchangers can exchange the rubles for digital currencies, and ICO can be used for financing and crypto mining will be legalized.
Belarus is a landlocked country in Europe that is found between Russia and Poland. It has a population of 9.5 million citizens. In 2005, its president signed into law a decree that was seeking to create an IT-focused economic zone. The zone which is known as High Tech Park (HTP). This is the only zone in the country that returns tax benefits in a systematic manner. The residents of this district are exempt from property tax, land tax, VAT and income tax. The HTP zone is similar to US’s Silicon Valley, and its residents have since its inception enjoyed its benefits.
Purpose of the Decree
The decree which was prepared last summer was drafted with the aim of facilitating the inflow of international investment. Also, it was aimed to incorporate new technologies and innovations in the zone. The draft which has already been handed over to the president, Mr. Alexander Lukashenko has provisions for crypto and ICOs as legal mediums of exchange.
According to a local news outlet, “The decree provides for the introduction into public circulation of cryptocurrencies and tokens based on the technology of blockchain. A comprehensive legal regulation is proposed so that HTP residents can provide crypto exchange services, exchange cryptocurrencies, attract financing through ICOs, [and] use cryptocurrencies and tokens in civil circulation.”
If the draft is signed into law, it will bring, “into the legal field not only cryptocurrencies but also the activities of the so-called miners,” The good thing about Belarus that they have a surplus and low-cost electricity hence those who would wish to mine the crypto will be able to do. However, the mining is likely to “create additional demand for electricity on a countrywide scale,”
The country’s largest bank, PriorBank’s digital banking head said that, “It is expected that Belarus will have a system for the exchange of real money for cryptocurrency, in fact, such exchange points will be legalized,” He also added that “the republic would then be one of the world’s leading countries in terms of cryptocurrency development.”
In addition to that, the CEO of Belarus’s leading IT holding company – the Belhard Group, had the following to say concerning the expected legalization of digital currency in the country, “The maximum legalization is needed…The existing laws do not prohibit such activity directly, but it is necessary to reform the legislation so that it protects all participants.”
The exchange of cryptocurrency is expected to start soon. The country is about to have its first centralized digital currency exchange. The transaction is expected to begin in Spring next year. According to sources, this exchange, “will be the first in the territory of the Customs Union (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan),” thus read the Russian government paper the Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
According to the information that was published on the exchange’s official website – exrate.by said, “The first centralized cryptocurrency exchange with the possibility of legal input and output of fiat funds…In addition to the standard exchange and trade operations, the possibility of exchanging Belarusian rubles will be added to the exchange.”
Furthermore, the official publication detailed that, “The decree on the HTP will introduce certain legislative changes,” Lazyuk (the head of Priorbank’s digital banking) was quoted by a local news outlet, Ej.by. While emphasizing that this issue is still under consideration, he said cryptocurrency exchanges are expected to be legalized in Belarus. “Any individuals can exchange Belarusian rubles, not for dollars and euros, but for cryptocurrencies,”
However, Belarus’s neighbor Russia, have made an announcement through their communication minister that Russia will not legalize bitcoin trade. In its place, last month the country announced that they would be issuing their own digital currency which will be regulated by the Russian authorities. The statement added that their coin, “cryptoruble” will not be mined but the people will be allowed to trade it with the Russian legal currency – Ruble.