Belarus Becomes the Latest Country to Legalize Bitcoin, ICOs

The government of Belarus has officially acknowledged bitcoin as legal tender, underscoring the wide divergence of opinion about how to regulate the digital currency. In the process, authorities also legalized initial coin offerings (ICOs), the controversial funding model that has raised more than $5 billion this year.

Cryptos, ICOs Granted Legal Status

In a document entitled On Digital Economy Development, authorities issued the following statement:

“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.”

According to CCN, the document was signed off by President Alexander Lukashenko.

The regulatory approval also extends to cryptocurrency mining, blockchain development and smart contracts. Unlike other nations with favorable crypto regulations, Belarus will not tax mining or even the trading of cryptocurrencies.

Slavic Hong Kong?

With the decree, Belarus easily becomes one of the world’s most favorable jurisdictions for all things cryptocurrency. In doing so, it joins jurisdictions such as Zug, Switzerland (i.e., Crypto Valley) in creating an environment where blockchain enterprise can flourish.

For businesses, this makes Belarus a prime destination for launching new cryptocurrencies. They will have until Jan. 1, 2023 to launch their blockchain enterprise with special tax provisions, such as lower taxes on profits and not having to pay the VAT when transferring ownership to other people.

“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,” Belarusian  businessman Viktor Prokopenya said last week before parliament, as quoted by RT.

Other nations that have adopted favorable crypto regulations include Japan and South Korea, although the latter has restricted ICOs. Meanwhile, jurisdictions such as Kazakhstan and Russia are seeking to develop a national cryptocurrency backed by fiat.

Belarus may be a small player in the global cryptocurrency market, but its decision to adopt a laissez-faire attitude could raise its profile in the blockchain community. Currently, the crypto market is dominated by two countries – the United States and Japan – that collectively settle more than 60% of global cryptocurrency trades. South Korea and Hong Kong also account for a growing share of the market, leaving everyone else far behind.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

 

Author:
Chief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi