Business

Erik Gibbs

Belarus crypto enthusiasts out more than $100K following scam

Belarus is a relatively loose country when it comes to cryptocurrency. It recognizes crypto as legitimate and the country was one of the first in Europe to offer flexibility for virtually all crypto activities. However, as flexible as it wanted to be, Belarus didn’t mean that crypto scams and frauds would be allowed. Unfortunately for a small handful of crypto fans in the city of Brest, they’ve been taken by a crypto firm after having over $109,000 stolen from them. 

According to the MIA news outlet in Belarus, a Brest-based crypto firm scammed several clients out of their hard-earned money, taking $109,401.34. One particular victim lost $75,000 when he handed over the money to the company so that they could purchase crypto on his behalf. The firm was expected to make the purchase and deposit the digital currency into his crypto wallet, but decided to run off with the money, and that of the others, instead. Another victim lost $15,000 the same way.

After receiving the money, the company’s representatives forged financial asset management contracts in order to make everything look legitimate. When the victims ran into a brick wall trying to find out the status of their orders, they finally decided to go to the police. Neither of the two victims, or the others involved, has been identified, but the police have already arrested the criminals. They weren’t named, either, with the police only stating that they were 29 and 32 years old.

In 2018, Belarus introduced regulations for digital assets in an effort to allow the space to mature within a stable environment. Those regulations were made possible by “Decree 8, On the Development of the Digital Economy,” which reads, in part, “In Decree No. 8 ‘On the Development of the Digital Economy,’ cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency exchange operators, mining, smart contract, blockchain, tokens, etc. were legalized. The moment of adoption of the Decree exempted from income tax and VAT until January 1, 2023.” After Decree No. 8 was adopted, the HTP [High-Technologies Park] began to develop detailed rules for companies that work in the [crypto space].”

Unfortunately, there will always be “bad actors” in any industry—there always have been and there always will be. In this case, though, the bad actors were caught swiftly, allowing justice to prevail.

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