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Belarus Legalizes Cryptocurrency Payments and ICOs

Bucking the trend!

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Wedged between the European Union and Russia, Belarus, although a small player in the cryptocurrency market, could be set to raise its profile a notch higher with the recent move to adopt a laissez-faire attitude with the cryptocurrency market.

On Friday 22nd December President Alexander Lukashenko announced and signed a decree titled “on the development of digital economy”, as first posted on CCN. The document seeks to create a cozy environment for global IT companies that want to set up development centers and create revolutionary technological products in Belarus.

These regulatory approvals by the government of Belarus extend to blockchain development, smart contracts, and cryptocurrency mining. They also include tax and legal incentives. This is particularly good news for miners and cryptocurrency traders, as they will enjoy tax free income for the next five years while in Belarus.  

With this move, the government of Belarus joins the jurisdiction of other cryptocurrency -friendly countries including Switzerland, South Korea and Japan. Businesses in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space will enjoy a blockchain-friendly environment, and are more likely to flourish in Belarus.

CCN further reports that President Lukashenko (a former collective farm manger) signed the decree on the move and was seemingly unmoved by Bitcoin’s falling price in past week. He was quoted saying Belarus will become the first government in the world that opens up a complete spectrum of opportunity for the use of blockchain technology.

Obviously, this move will catch the attention of entrepreneurs in the cryptocurrency space, who are looking to bypass regulatory scrutiny. This will also make Belarus a regional centre and a prime destination for companies looking to launch their cryptocurrencies.

Antony Myakishev (the head of Microsoft in Belarus) spoke to Reuters and was quoted on CCN, saying that the move by president Lukashenko to sign the decree is a breakthrough for the country as it presents the industry with an opportunity to leap forward in development while also allowing foreign capital to enter the country under comfortable conditions.

The decree further sets up a direct link between the token issuers and their obligation to token holders, thus protecting investors from fraud. In addition, cryptocurrency exchange operators will have to comply with the set-up capital requirements and smart contracts.

While the move by Belarus may have been influenced by upcoming regional developments that aim to draft laws for cryptocurrency and ICO regulation, the Belarus decree is set to be unique, especially since its counterparts that have adopted favorable crypto regulations have restricted ICOs, unlike Belarus.

Share your thoughts in the comments section and let us know what you think about the move by Belarus to legalize ICO and cryptocurrency activity!

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