Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko issued a proclamation titled “On the register of virtual wallet addresses and the circulation of cryptocurrency,” legally recognizing the free flow of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
On Monday, Belarus’s President Lukashenko signed Decree No 48 “on the register of virtual wallet addresses and the circulation of cryptocurrency,” establishing a legal framework for Belarusian cryptocurrency regulator Hi-Tech Park to keep records of virtual wallet addresses used in illegal operations.
Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that Belarus‘ cryptocurrency regulator, Hi-Tech Park, has no plans to amend its lax bitcoin-related regulations. Hi-Tech Park’s press team told Bloomberg that “restrictive changes to the existing regulatory model are not currently anticipated.”
The order was issued by Lukashenko with the objective of safeguarding investors, and it would be enforced by the Council of Ministers three months after its publication.
The official announcement read:
“Belarus is consistently developing the legal field for regulating activities related to digital assets, and, unlike many other states, allows the free circulation of digital currencies. At the same time, this requires constant monitoring of the situation and, if necessary, supplementing and clarifying regulatory norms. Including to exclude cases of shadow financing of prohibited activities.”
The paper creates a legal framework for Hi-Tech Park to compile and maintain records of cryptocurrency wallet addresses used in illegal activity. The decree document lays out the method and conditions for the government’s confiscation of cryptocurrency from violators.
Lukashenko’s recent intervention in the Belarusian crypto regulatory structure reaffirms the country’s commitment to cryptocurrency growth, including cryptocurrency mining and trading.
In September 2021, Lukashenko urged the government to mine cryptocurrency using surplus electrical infrastructure. Belarusbank, the country’s largest financial institution, allegedly announced a bitcoin trading company earlier.
Belarus is a crypto-friendly country, with the president releasing a decree titled “On the Development of the Digital Economy” in 2018 that contained tax breaks for businesses that trade in digital assets.
Despite growing regulatory scrutiny, the latest order retains the country’s crypto-friendly attitude, and the legal structure that is being put in place is intended to attract investment funds to put money into digital currency.
While Belarus looks to be heading toward cryptocurrency acceptance, some of Belarus’ most key economic and political partners, such as Russia, are trailing in terms of cryptocurrency regulation.
Russia’s “On Digital Financial Assets” law, which was enacted in January 2021, still has regulatory uncertainties because the country’s many financial agencies differ on how to regulate cryptocurrencies. Despite the Russian government’s formal ratification of cryptocurrency law last week, the Bank of Russia continues to resist its implementation.
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