Belarus Acknowledges Bitcoin as a Legal Currency, Legalizes ICOs

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The government of Belarus, with the approval of its President Alexander Lukashenko, has officially acknowledged bitcoin as a legal currency and has legalized initial coin offerings (ICOs), smart contracts, and blockchain development.

Tax-Free, ICO Legalized, Blockchain Industry

The document approved by President Lukashenko entitled “On Digital Economy Development,” read:

“The main goal of the document is to create such conditions that global IT companies would come to Belarus, open their representative offices, development centers, and create popular products in the world.”

Unlike several major bitcoin markets like South Korea, the Belarus government will not tax mining, trading of cryptocurrencies, and sale of digital tokens. According to Belarus Hi-Tech Park director Vsevolod Yanchevsky, activities related to mining, creation, acquisition and sale of digital tokens will remain tax-free until 2023, throughout the next five years.

“Having adopted the Decree, Belarus Becomes one of the world’s most comfortable jurisdictions for IT business. Besides, the country is creating favorable conditions for the development of blockchain technology and businesses based on it,” said Yanchevsky.

The primary motive of the government of Belarus in providing a favorable environment for both cryptocurrency businesses and investors is to better facilitate the growth of its digital economy, beginning with the fastest growing technology and financial network in bitcoin.

Similar to Zug in Switzerland, better known as Crypto Valley, the Belarus government plans to address the rapidly growing demand for ICOs and token sales by establishing an ecosystem in which blockchain projects and startups can freely, without being concerned about regulatory conflicts and boundaries, issue crypto-tokens.

Denis Aleinikov, a senior partner at law firm Aleinikov & Partners, who is one of the main individuals that led the cryptocurrency bill to presidential approval, emphasized that the government also seeks to see an exponential growth rate in its smart contracts and blockchain industry.

As such, the government aims to provide full support towards decentralized applications and blockchain projects working toward commercializing and deploying smart contracts at a large scale.

“Smart contract may solve the fundamental problem of all humanity which is a failure to fulfill what has been agreed on paper. A computer program takes the function of a contract’s automatic fulfillment,” said Aleinikov.

Significance of Belarus’ Friendly Regulations

Currently, the global cryptocurrency market is largely dominated by four regions: the US, South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong. The US and Japan settle more than 60 percent of the global bitcoin and cryptocurrency trades, while South Korea and Hong Kong account for more than 10 percent of the market.

In the past, leading cryptocurrency markets like Australia with innovative startups and well-backed early-stage companies struggled to demonstrate success due to the inefficient and impractical policies imposed by the government. This year, the Australian government passed various regulations to eliminate taxes for investors and offer friendly regulations for businesses. Still, the Australian bitcoin market is lagging behind other regions.

At this early stage of development and adoption, countries like Belarus could solidify themselves as leading regions in the global cryptocurrency market by garnering talents, startups, and projects.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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