Belarus’ love affair with crypto turns a new corner

Saif Naqvi
Source: Pixabay

Belarus has extended its long-standing affair with cryptocurrencies after President Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree and the country’s formal support of free circulation of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

A statement announced on Monday revealed that the President signed gave the go-ahead for a decree which allows Belarus Hi-Tech Park to create and maintain a register of crypto wallet addresses used in illegal activities. A rough translation of the statement 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.”

“To this end, the Head of State signed the Decree On the Register of Addresses (Identifiers) of Virtual Wallets and Peculiarities of Cryptocurrency Turnover”.

The statement further revealed that the rule was designed “to protect participants in the digital asset market from the loss of property and prevent unintentional involvement in activities prohibited by law”.

The document gives a legal bias for seizing cryptocurrency from criminals and details the rules and procedures by which the Belarusian Government can do so.

Belarus has maintained its stance as a crypto-friendly nation, presenting a pro-crypto decree titled “On the development of the digital economy” in 2018. Recently, officials revealed that the nation does not intend on adopting stricter crypto laws even though ally Russia maintains a blanket ban on digital assets. Instead, the Government has encouraged financial institutions to acquire crypto assets, acknowledging the economic benefits they offer.

The Central European country is perhaps taking cues from Ukraine, which has raked in capital inflows after opening the doors wide open to cryptocurrency investments and trading. As per Chainalysis, Ukraine topped the Global Crypto Adoption Index in 2020, although its position slipped to the fourth spot by 2021. Regardless, crypto investments are soaring and the country is reportedly using the proceeds to fend off a possible Russian invasion. A report from Elliptic showed over $570,000 of cryptocurrency has flooded into voluntary organizations and NGOs in Ukraine to help its army against Russian troops.