Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has signed a new decree that broadens the country’s cryptocurrency legal framework. The Belarus High-Tech Park (HTP), which supervises the country’s crypto space, will be able to construct a register for crypto wallet addresses that are or could be used for illegal purposes as a result of the move.
In a release, the president’s press service stated that the purpose is to “protect participants in the digital asset market from loss of property and prevent unintentional involvement in actions prohibited by law.” Decree No. 48, dated February 14, 2022, is titled “On the register of addresses (identifiers) of virtual wallets and aspects of cryptocurrency circulation.” The Lukashenko government also emphasized:
“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.” Belarusian officials feel that this will necessitate “continuous monitoring of the situation” and, where needed, “supplementing and clarifying regulatory rules.”
This includes attempts to prevent the financing of illegal operations, which was the primary motivation for the newest crypto decree’s approval.
If law enforcement agencies receive information indicating that wallet addresses are being used for unlawful operations or transactions related to extremism and terrorism, they will be placed to the registry. The decree also establishes mechanisms for authorities to seize crypto assets with the assistance of corporations that operate cryptocurrency exchanges and other crypto platforms.
The Minsk government will have three months to take the required steps to carry out Lukashenko’s directive, which will then take effect. Another presidential decree signed in 2017 allowed crypto activity in Belarus. It went into effect in May of the following year, and it gave crypto firms tax discounts and other benefits.
The Belarusian president intimated in March that the industry’s laws would be tightened, citing China as an example. However, HTP officials later stated that the authorities do not intend to implement harsher regulations. Belarus is prepared to allow investment funds to purchase digital assets, according to reports earlier this month.
Despite the fact that cryptocurrencies cannot be used for payments in Belarus, the country ranks third in Eastern Europe in terms of crypto adoption. That’s, owing to robust peer-to-peer activity, according to Chainalysis’ Crypto Adoption Index. Ukraine and Russia, two other former Soviet republics, are the region’s top two countries.
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