Belarus plans to modernise its economy by becoming one of the world’s most liberal environments for cryptocurrencies. In landmark legislation signed last week by President Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus has legalised cryptocurrencies, exchanges and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
While other countries are tightening up their controls and regulation, Belarus is actively trying to attract cryptocurrency activity. Transactions in cryptocurrencies are now legal, as it their conversion to fiat. The government is encouraging new Belarusian exchanges and the establishment of businesses who want to raise funds through ICOs. All cryptocurrency trades will be tax-free for five years while the government encourages the establishment of the industry.
A spokesperson for the president described the goal of the legislation was to,
create an environment for leading IT companies to come to Belarus, open development centers and create products that would be popular in the world.”
Sandwiched between the EU and Russia, the Belarus economy is still dominated by state-owned industry and dependent on Russian subsidies. Recent years have seen increasing exploration of technology as a way for the economy to develop and for the country to gain foreign investment.
“Slavic Hong Kong”
Talking to the Belarusian parliament, businessman Viktor Prokopenya said that Belarus,
wants to be an IT capital for the Slavic world like Hong Kong. In times of sanctions and political instability at our borders – this is more urgent than ever.”
This strategy includes the development of a “High Technologies Park”, a special economic zone offering different legal and tax status to participating businesses. The park’s director Vsevolod Yanchevsky welcomed the move, saying that it now Belarus was “one of the world’s most comfortable jurisdictions for IT business” adding that that this created favourable “conditions for the development of blockchain technology and businesses based on it.“