gold bitcoin coin being squeezed in vice on Belarus flag background

Belarus to ban peer-to-peer digital asset transactions to combat crime

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Belarus is working on legislation that will outlaw peer-to-peer digital asset transactions as it seeks to combat crime.

In a recent statement, the country’s Ministry of Internal Affairs claimed that criminals have been exploiting P2P services to launder their illicit funds. The ministry is working on a new draft bill prohibiting P2P transactions to reduce this kind of fraud.

“Since the beginning of the year, employees of the cybercrime counteraction units have stopped the activities of 27 citizens who provide illegal cryptocurrency exchange services. Their total illegal income amounted to almost 22 million rubles ($8.7 million),” read the statement.

However, the Eastern European country is not banning digital assets wholly. It will still allow citizens to send and receive digital assets through licensed exchanges “for the sake of transparency and control.”

“The introduction of a practice similar to the procedure for exchanging foreign currencies will make it impossible to withdraw money obtained through criminal means. In such conditions, it will simply be unprofitable for IT fraudsters to operate in Belarus,” the ministry added.

By banning P2P transactions, the Belarusian government is relegating digital assets to speculation. Satoshi Nakamoto designed Bitcoin to be a P2P electronic cash system that allows “online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution,” as he laid out on the white paper.

However, this vision has been subverted by BTC and other digital assets, which, unable to scale, now spread the “hedge against inflation” narrative.

Belarus has been in global headlines for months now, being one of Russia’s key allies in its war against Ukraine. This has seen major global powers led by the U.S. issue severe sanctions against the country, seeking to cripple it economically. With over 1,100 sanctions, Belarus only ranks behind Russia, Syria, North Korea, and Iran.

Announcing its sanctions against Belarus in March, the European Union specified that it had also included digital assets under the “transferrable securities” category.

Watch: Craig Wright sees world where Bitcoin processes 10 billion transactions per second

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