Business 29 March 2018

Dennis Wafula

Belarus targets cryptocurrency companies with crypto-friendly regime

Belarus has finally legalized cryptocurrency activities in the country. On March 28, the presidential decree “on the development of digital economy” came into force. According to reports, the country aims to become a global IT hub that will bring many businesses from around the globe. Many crypto entrepreneurs are expected to invest in the country, because of unprecedented freedoms and the many generous incentives from its newly-enacted decree.

The decree, signed into law last December by President Alexander Lukashenko, made Belarus the first country in Europe to offer freedom for all cryptocurrency activities. The new law has legalized all cryptocurrency-related businesses in the country, including exchange services, initial coin offerings (ICOs), mining operations, and smart contracts, among others.

One benefit from the presidential decree is there will be no taxes imposed on crypto-related activities. Unlike other countries, Belarus has exempted all cryptocurrency-related activities from taxation. Businesses and even private individuals who mine and trade cryptocurrencies in Belarus can now enjoy the tax breaks and other incentives until January 1, 2023. The decree has also allowed international cryptocurrency companies to operate in the country tax-free for the next five years.

To enjoy these benefits, businesses will need to register themselves as members of the Belarus High Technologies Park (HTP). Members of HTP will not be required to apply for work permits. They will also get a special visa waiver regime and a temporary residence status in Belarus.

The presidential decree has caused variety of changes and adoption of new laws and policies in Belarus. This week a crypto accounting standard was adopted to help adjust the accounting systems to accommodate cryptocurrency. The Central bank of Belarus has also made changes in its oversight of commercial banks and other financial institutions. They also address the introduction of new requirements for the internal control procedure.

The new rules and policies are aimed at preventing illicit incomes, terrorism financing and proliferation of weapon for mass destruction from being legalized. The Belarus government said the measures will help strengthen the anti-money laundering measures already set and improve cybersecurity in the country.

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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