In an interesting turn of events, Belarus has declared that cryptocurrency business and crypto-related activities are now legalized in the country. The announcement follows the presidential decree “On the Development of the Digital Economy,” which was confirmed on March 28. With a newly initiated business-friendly environment, Belarus will be a global IT hub that attracts entrepreneurs from all parts of the world. Besides, the former Soviet republic seeks to introduce crypto companies that will be attractive to entrepreneurs across the world.
No tax on crypto activities
Belarus, which has had a poor reputation with politicians from the West, has redeemed its image with the western business community. On Wednesday, the country, which is a close ally of Moscow, became a European leader in crypto matters. It has achieved this through the implementation of all-inclusive regulations to ensure that cryptocurrency business is now legal in the country.
President Alexander Lukashenko signed the decree in December, but it was confirmed on March 28 to create favorable conditions for cryptocurrency business in Belarus. This will further augment the development of the digital economy in the country. The declaration now makes it clear that crypto-related activities such as initial coin offerings, exchange services, smart contracts, and mining operations are officially permitted in the country that has been branded the last dictatorship in Europe.
The document offers no restriction to issuance, storage, and trading of digital tokens. As such, entrepreneurs and corporate organizations in the crypto industry can do business freely anywhere. They only need to register as members of the Belarus High Technologies Park (HTP).
Tax exemption and more incentives
The president’s decree brings with it tax exemptions and other incentives for crypto traders until the beginning of January 2023. Major beneficiaries of the decree include mining companies, individual, and corporate traders of digital coins. The new regulations seek to make easy foreign trade as well as the hiring of foreign employees by the members of the High Technology Park. Besides, employees and investors in the HTP will not be required to have work permits. They also stand to benefit from a special visa waiver that will grant them temporary residence status in Belarus.
New Regulations Adopted
A string of changes follows the presidential decree “On the Development of the Digital Economy.” Just this week, Belarus adopted a new standard that will help adjust its accounting activities to include cryptocurrency business. Belarus puts digital tokens in the category of Cryptos, based on their acquisition, and intended use. Belarus authorities have also defined a set of information, which entrepreneurs and crypto companies should share. The authorities have also amended the National Chart of Accounts.
Some of the institutions to implement the changes include the central bank of Belarus. The changes have included the introduction of fresh regulations to execute internal control procedures. From the information gleaned from the Belarus government press service, the new rules will prevent the validation of illicit incomes, terrorism funding, and the production of weapons of mass destruction. According to officials, the regulations aimed at curbing money laundering and cybercrime.
Considering all the changes, the president has created a special Council for the Development of the Digital Economy. Chaired by the country’s Prime Minister, Andrei Kobyakov, the Council will be in charge of coordination, digitization, and development of information and communication sectors. In addition, the president hinted at the creation of a Digital Economy Ministry, which he said he would support. This could happen as early as this year.
Belarus to maximize on the declaration
President Lukashenko has reiterated that Belarus needs to learn how to benefit from improved communication and information technologies. In December 2017, he spoke of the need for a new impulse in the country’s IT industry.
“Belarus should become attractive for talented people and successful companies,” insisted the president. He also emphasized that Belarus has what it takes to develop efficient artificial intelligence, big data, and blockchain technologies. The president promised that he would not slow down the progress but also warned investors and entrepreneurs not to forget the state and interests.
“Let’s work together for this piece of land. I will guarantee you stability and non-interference,” the president promised.
Since the signing of Decree No 8 in December 2017, the authorities in Belarus have recorded exceptional interest growth in crypto-related businesses. The government also declared that it recorded an increase in the number of HTP-affiliated businesses by about a quarter in 2018 currently covering 67 markets worldwide.
With the new regulations in place, Belarus seeks to create a favorable business atmosphere for foreign investments and technology development. This will make the country a crypto-friendly hub.
Legalizing the accounting standard
The move by Belarus to legalize cryptocurrency business comes just days after the country adopted a new accounting standard that embraces digital currencies.
According to the Ministry of Finance in Belarus, the new standard spells out the measures for bookkeeping in relation to crypto transactions. However, the document does not single out cryptocurrencies, which are still not considered a legal tender in the country. All the same, it regulates the reporting of the crypto-related activities.
The ministry’s decree also defined the responsibilities of the organizations that will conduct token sales and the approaches they will use to assess the cost of the same assets. The rules apply mainly to private dealers and not the government-affiliated bans or institutions.
What do you think these moves by Belarus mean to the future of cryptocurrency in Europe? Join the conversation over at Telegram (https://t.me/coinstaker)
Images from Shutterstock and Coinstaker Library
Tony is a writer for the crypto space. He presents cryptocurrency and blockchain topics to the public in a way that he only can. While carefully researched, this article should not be taken as an express investment guide. Do your own research and consult a financial advisor before you invest in cryptocurrency.
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