As early as December 22, 2017, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree allowing businesses to embrace cryptocurrencies, while exempting cryptocurrency-related transactions from taxes until January 2023. The country’s guideline on cryptocurrencies then didn’t really budge over the years. In April 2019, Alexander Lukashenko announced his support for the development of a bitcoin (BTC) mining farm. And more recently, in February 2022, the Ministry of Finance presented new provisions that will extend, until January 1, 2031, tax exemptions for entities working with collective investments in cryptocurrencies. And still in this line of pro-crypto measures, the Belarusian president has just signed a decree that once again promotes the development of the sector in the country.
Free circulation of Bitcoin and crypto: Belarus, a crypto-friendly country?
On February 14, 2022, the press service of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced the signing of a decree that aims, among other things, to protect cryptocurrency investors from potential losses.
The statement emphasizes Belarus’ favorable stance towards cryptocurrencies, allowing their “free circulation.”
In March 2021, however, Alexander Lukashenko had hinted at a tightening of the regulation of cryptocurrencies, in order to control their use in the country. By January 2022, however, Belarusian officials had indicated that Minsk had no plans to adopt stricter rules in this area.
The decree, titled “On the registry of virtual wallet addresses and the circulation of cryptocurrencies,” is also said to be aimed at “preventing unwitting participation in activities prohibited by law.”
Belarus defines a legal framework for its “Silicon Valley.”
With this decree, the Belarusian High Tech Park now has a legal basis to establish and manage a registry of cryptocurrency wallet addresses linked to illegal activities.
The Park, often referred to as the “Belarusian Silicon Valley,” is in charge of managing the special legal regime that has been put in place to facilitate the development of information technology, including cryptocurrencies, in the country.
The decree further specifies the process and standards of seizing cryptocurrencies from criminals by government authorities.
The country’s Council of Ministers now has three months from the date of publication of the decree to adopt the appropriate measures necessary for its implementation.
Will this willingness of Belarus to promote the development of cryptocurrencies in the country inspire its ally, Russia? The Russian central bank had called for a ban on cryptocurrencies, but the institution will not see its wish come true. Russian President Vladimir Putin has in fact asked the relevant institutions to agree on a regulation of the sector.