As of March 28th, ICOs, smart contracts and cryptocurrencies will be legal in Belarus. As previously reported, the decree, “On the development of the digital economy” was signed by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko in December.
Belarusian lawyer Iryna Chelyshava argues that the decree is “unique, and is in some ways more advanced than even the most highly developed jurisdictions”. In a bid to attract foreign investment and digital development, the new laws allow any residents of Belarus’s High Technology Park (HTP) to conduct transactions in tokens.
High Technology Park
The HTP is a special economic zone and its residents are subject to different tax and regulation than other companies. Around 190 software companies are resident in the park, with a third of those entirely funded by foreign investment. Entities outside of the HTP can still use tokens in Belarus provided they do so through HTP residents.
Under the new legislation there will be no “restrictions or special requirements for the creation, issue, storage, sale or exchange of digital tokens, as well as operation of cryptocurrency exchanges and platforms”. Furthermore, any such activity will be free of taxation until 2023.
The Decree provides the first consideration anywhere in the world on the nature of smart contracts. The definition used is broad, and according to Chelyshava, encompasses “various approaches to understanding of smart contract that exist now”.
However, the HTP is keen to point out that until March 28th token activities are still outside of Belarusian law and that, “only business entities registered as HTP residents after March 28, 2018 will be allowed to engage in token-related activities.” On Thursdays the HTP provides consultation on how to become a resident.
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