In a radical move, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko aims to make Belarus an international “sandbox” for companies dealing with blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, offering a favorable climate for ICOs, tax breaks, and legal incentives.
Belarus isn’t a stranger to the world of tech — having produced such companies as call-making and mobile IM app Viber, and smash hit gaming platform World of Tanks, which made its founder Victor Kislyi the country’s first billionaire. It now seeks to expand further into the world of tech, loosening some of its restrictive business regulations and downplaying its repressive reputation, in hopes of making the country an international tech refuge for cryptocurrency and blockchain advancement.
A presidential decree signed last week makes it clear that Belarus wants to become the go-to global center for raising funds by way of initial coin offerings. In addition to legalizing blockchain based business and all digital tokens, under the new law revenue and profit from any operations using digital tokens would not be taxable until 2023. According to a summary of the decree:
· Mining tokens, exchanging tokens for other tokens or fiat and/or buying or selling tokens are all legal, not seen as entrepreneurial activity, and not subject to declaration by the individual
· Any revenue or profit from various token operations are not subject to tax until January 2023
· Any company can create and offer tokens.
The proposed law would protect against fraud with capital requirements for operators of exchanges, streamline the venture capital process between Belarus and other countries, offer legal incentives and tax reprieves, establish obligations of token issuers toward their holders, and introduce smart contracts as standard operating procedure.
“Belarus will become the first government in the world that opens wide opportunities for the use of blockchain technology. We have every chance of becoming a regional center in this area,” said Lukashenko.
If Lukashenko and the tech community supporting the proposed law succeed, it would be the first case study of a major government overhaul to foster the growth and adoption of digital currencies. On a world scale, this could provide legal clarity the likes of which remain yet unseen as it relates to nations dealing with cryptocurrencies.
Time will tell if Belarus becomes an innovator in crypto law and achieves its ideal of establishing a legal, tax free enclave for cryptocurrency businesses. But one thing is for certain, we continue to see strong signaling on a global scale that the wave of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is truly on a rising tide.