In 2017, a lot of countries have been struggling over the legalization of Bitcoin, the blockchain, and ICO. However, out of a blue moon, Belarus has bitten everybody in its aspiration to become friendly to cryptocurrencies.
Right at the end of 2017, on December, 22 President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, who once called internet “trash”, signed a decree on the development of the digital economy. Besides general IT regulations, this document officially permits all cryptocurrencies, mining, operations with them and even concerns smart contracts.
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"Belarus is actually the first state in the world, which opens wide opportunities for the use of blockchain technology. We have every chance to become a regional center of competence in this field," said Lukashenko after he signed a breakthrough document.
“Crypto State of Belarus”
The Belarussian decree does not imply any restrictions on the operations of creation, placement, storage, alienation, exchange of tokens, as well as the activities of crypto exchanges and crypto platforms.
"Mining, acquisition, alienation of tokens, carried out by individuals, is not business activity, and tokens are not subject to declaration," the declaration says.
Moreover, the good news is that until 2023, mining, the creation, acquisition, and alienation of tokens will not be taxed at all. Belarussians will start enjoying legalized cryptocurrencies in three months after the decree is published.
However, later the taxation over bitcoin and its brethren is going to be revised. But by now this country has created a surprising precedent of which European legislators could not have thought.
The digital coins in Belarus may now be exchanged for traditional currencies on exchanges functioning on the territory of the country. This can also be applied to the local money or any other one which can be of interest for traders.
Engrossing to admit, but just in October 2017 the National Bank of the Republic Belarus claimed that it wasn’t even going to consider cryptocurrencies transactions within Belarus neither the rest of the operations.
"As for the cryptocurrency, the issue of settling transactions in cryptocurrencies for goods, works, services on the territory of Belarus is not considered in principle," said Pavel Kallaur, the Chairman of the Board of the NBRB.
Wooing foreign investors
Currently, it remains to be seen how such legislation will affect Belarus in the future. But it is clear that the decree is opening lots of doors for this country. In particular, more foreign companies may set up in Belarus.
“The decree is a breakthrough for Belarus,” told Reuters Anton Myakishev, who is the head of Microsoft’s Belarus office.
“It gives the industry the possibility to make a leap forward in its development and allows foreign capital the possibility to come to Belarus and work in comfortable conditions,” added Myakishev.
In addition, the decree allows local IT firms to function in part under English law. It is a lure for potential foreign investors, for whom it is quite challenging to navigate the legal system of this country.
Denis Aleinikov, a senior partner in a private law firm Aleinikov and Partners in the capital of Belarus, Minsk, is one of the leading authors of the decree. He claims that earlier the post-Soviet country had been struggling due to Belarussian law.
“We regularly faced legal problems. When a Western company buys a Belarussian company, they try to structure the deal outside Belarus. Investors don’t want to deal with Belarussian legislation,” said Aleinikov.
The fact that Belarussian government issued a decree is a sign that it indeed supports the IT sector in the country. Furthermore, the legislation of cryptocurrencies in Belarus is a prominent milestone on the way to the world’s acceptance of blockchain technology and its brethren.