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Bitcoin in Belarus

Belarus is a friendly nation with regards to Bitcoin. A small country between Russia and the European Union Belarus has legalised Bitcoin along with other cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The decree signed by President, Alexander Lukashenko, will be a welcome breathe of fresh air in an area bound by regulation and dire warnings on using Bitcoin by Russia and the European Union. It will provide tax breaks and legal incentives and according to Bloomberg, ‘will help turn Belarus into an international tech haven.

In a statement Lukashenko, a former collective farm manager who’s in the past labelled the internet “garbage,” said, “Belarus will become the first government in the world that opens wide opportunities for the use of blockchain technology (…) We have every chance of becoming a regional center in this area.” The decree also exempts revenue and profits from all operations using cryptocurrencies for the next five years.

The head of Microsoft’s offices in Belarus, Anton Myakishev, said, “the decree is a breakthrough for Belarus as it gives the industry the possibility to make a leap forward in its development, while allowing foreign capital to enter it in comfortable conditions.”

Earlier Lukashenko said that his goal in signing the decree is to turn Belarus into a “tech nation.” Not only does it legalize cryptocurrencies and ICOs, it also allows local IT companies to partly operate under English law, so it’ll help foreign investors who struggled to navigate the country’s legal system.

Denis Alenikov, a senior partner at private law firm Alenikov and Partners, who helped draft the decree, stated, “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.”

The IT sector is one area that doing very well in Belarus, attracting foreign workers who earn five times the country’s average wage in its Hi-Tech Park. As the most prominent sector of the country’s economy, it is expected to grow by 1.7 percent in 2018.

Interestingly Belarus was home to the popular messenger application Viber, as well as the online gaming service World of Tanks, making its founder the country’s first billionaire.

In an interview, Vsevolod Yanchevsky , head of the Hi-Tech Park, said, “The decree has been written exactly the way our tech community wanted it. Belarus will be one of the best jurisdictions in the world for cryptocurrencies and blockchain.”

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