Reuters news agency has put Belarus in its Monday article about the small and ambitious states emerging in the rapidly growing cryptocurrency market.
Noteworthy, there is no traditional well-worn reference about Belarus as “Europe’s last dictatorship” in the text.
The text starts and ends with the quote of Viktor Prokopenya, one of the ten most successful and powerful businessmen in Belarus and one of the architects of regulations of the Decree on Development of Digital Economy.
Go another way
In his interview with Reuters, Prokopenya spoke about meeting Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko in 2016 to discuss approaches regulating the IT industry.
New regulations came in force two years later, now investors can trade Bitcoins at the world’s first crypto exchange launched by the businessman earlier in the year.
“The idea was to create everything from scratch. To make sure that it is free in some of the aspects it needs to be free, and very stringent in other aspects,” said Prokopenya.
Reuters notes that Belarus is among a handful of smaller countries coming up with specific rule books for digital currencies.
“Their efforts could help shape the development of the global market and the growth of industry players, from exchange platforms to brokers,” the agency explains.
Belarus, Bahrain, Malta and Gibraltar are seen as the alternatives to major financial centres like London and New York and lightly-regulated jurisdictions like the Seychelles and Belize.
The four are “crafting specific rules for the cryptocurrency sector, betting they can attract companies by providing regulatory security as well as perks like tax breaks.”
Carrots with no sticks
“For many, the CIS market is very promising and very dangerous at the same time. Many large and accomplished players are still afraid of one factor – a lack of transparency.
We didn’t want to work in any ‘grey’ jurisdiction,” said Igor Snizhko, the co-founder of iExchange, another cryptocurrency trading platform in Belarus.
The news agency calls the conditions (such as looser rules on currency controls, visas and tax breaks) created for IT companies in Belarus as “carrots with no sticks”.
According to Ireland-based Research and Market, the size of the global cryptocurrency sector is $1 billion that can grow up to $1.4 billion by 2024.
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The text ends with the words of Prokopenya, who acknowledged the risks of blockchain technology, including the potential for money laundering.
However, the entrepreneur believes that clear regulation can change the situation and “countries like Belarus should not miss out on a chance to grab a slice of an emerging market.”
“The biggest risks come from not taking any risks,” he summed up.