Business 29 January 2019

Steve Kaaru

Belarus’ largest bank could set up a crypto exchange

Belarus’ largest bank could set up a crypto exchange

The biggest bank in Belarus is exploring the possibility of setting up a cryptocurrency exchange, a new report has revealed. Belarusbank has been on a digitalization wave and crypto could be the next frontier.

The report by Belta, a national media outlet, quoted Viktor Ananich, the bank’s chairman of the board, who revealed that the bank is focusing on becoming digital this year. In an interview with Belarus 1 TV channel, he said, “We are considering a possibility to establish a cryptocurrency exchange. We are working on it.”

With over 14,500 outlets spread across the country, Belarusbank is the biggest bank in the Eastern European country. It has over $11 billion worth of assets, and in 2017 it made $1.1 billion in revenue. Headquartered in the country’s capital of Minsk, Belarusbank has recently partnered with mobile service providers in its digitalization bid. It also plans to issue a virtual card in the future, with the Chairman recognizing the rapid pace that technology is taking in recent years. “Digitalization-related projects will be virtually exclusive in nature. However, at present things are changing very fast and we need to keep up with them,” he said.


A Budding Blockchain Hub

Belarus has been very progressive towards cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies. Last year, the Belarusian government expressed its interest in partnering with South Korea to develop emerging technologies and be a part of the new industrial revolution. The government has also stated its intention to digitize the economy so as to compete with the elite nations.

In its bid to be a blockchain and crypto hub, the government also formulated and released a regulatory framework for the industry towards the end of 2018. The regulations were established by the Belarus High Technologies Park, a special IT-focused economic zone that functions as the country’s Silicon Valley.

The regulations established a framework for establishing crypto exchanges, issuing an ICO, internal control rules and more. While the crypto industry in the country is still young, a crypto exchange by the country’s largest bank could be a real game changer.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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