In an attempt to boost private sector growth and foreign investment, Belarus has legalised cryptocurrency transactions.
The President, Alexander Lukashenko signed the decree on the 21st December 2017, despite Bitcoin plummeting to below $11,000, saying;
“All smart and intelligent people know what stability and order are…They’re all trying to reach that shore. We’re prepared to arrange a dock and even a harbour”.
Belarus, which is a former Soviet republic, located between Russia and the European Union, has long struggled to become independent of Russian money and subsidies. This has led Lukashenko to introduce more reforms, designed to attract new businesses and bolster the economy and the recession in 2015 and 2016.
The most recent decree has been designed to attract digital coin entrepreneurs, who are moving into modern times and moving their entire businesses to locations that are welcoming to cryptocurrencies. This recent change will legalise initial coin offerings and transactions in cryptocurrencies, which will include their exchange for traditional currencies on Belarusian exchanges. All trades will be completely tax-free for the next five years. This will also allow local IT companies to operate in part under English law, which will be a bonus to potential foreign investors.
Anton Myakishev, who is the head of Microsoft’s Belarus Office said;
“The decree is a breakthrough for Belarus…It gives the industry the possibility to make a leap forward in its development and allows foreign capital the possibility to come to Belarus and work in comfortable conditions.”