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BREAKING: Belarus Legalizes ICOs, Cryptocurrencies And Smart Contracts With Revolutionary Law

On 22 December Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko signed the law on the overall regulation of digital tokens, cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, initial coin offerings (ICOs), activities of cryptocurrency exchanges, smart contracts and related issues.

It is the first law of its kind globally.

Adoption of the decree makes Belarus the first world’s jurisdiction with the overall legal regulation of businesses based on blockchain technology.

Tax changes

The decree grants tax exemptions in regard to activities connected with digital tokens and cryptocurrencies.

Special norms will be introduced into local IT legislation: English law institutes for startups to 0% corporate tax, VAT-free, reduced personal income tax and other perks for IT companies until 2049.

Changes for foreign and local companies

The Belarusian High-Tech Park (HTP) resident-companies will have the possibility to attract specialists from abroad without limitation.

Moreover, any company can register in the HTP and will not be obliged to obtain work permits for foreign employees.

Read also: How Belarus tech savvy paves way to foreign investors and new markets Forbes

Besides, visa-free entry for foreign IT specialists in Belarus will be up to 180 days per year.

Why is it necessary?

According to the president, the main goal of the document is to create conditions to attract world IT companies to Belarus, encourage them to open their representational offices and development centers in Belarus and make in-demand products.

“The second goal of the document is to invest in the future. These are IT workers and education. The third goal is the application of cutting-edge financial instruments and technologies. Leading economies of the world are now familiarizing themselves with this new phenomenon.

In fact, Belarus becomes the first state in the world which opens up broad opportunities for the use of the blockchain technology. We have all opportunities to become a regional center of competence in this field,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

It took over half a year to prepare the decree. The Hi-Tech Park representatives in collaboration with HTP resident-companies, the IT community, leading legal and consulting firms and foreign experts worked on it.

Read also: American MapBox to open office in HTP to work on self-driving cars

Belarus High Technologies Park (HTP) is a special economic zone with a exceptional tax and legal regime a Belarusian analog of Silicon Valley.

The Park has established its reputation as an R&D center in the past, managing to attract companies like Fitbit, IAC, Mapbox, WorkFusion, Rakuten (Viber).

Currently there are 192 residents in the Park – from its first resident, EPAM (NYSE:EPAM) with its 7000 employees in Belarus, to small startups.