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Belarus to legitimize cryptocurrency activities by March

Jan 19, 2018 Posted /  2591 Views

Belarus to legitimize cryptocurrency activities by March

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree recently to legalize cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings and smart contracts and it is expected that it will be enforced by March this year. According to the decree, activities related to cryptocurrencies will not be constrained and will be exempted from tax till 2023.

According to the reports of Belarus media the decree, which was signed by the president on December 21, will be implemented in the country with effect from March 28. The decree, which is titled as “On the development of the digital economy,” gives opportunities to the residents of HTP to operate and function using crypto coins. Iryna Chelyshava, an associate attorney at the Belarusian law firm of Vlasova Mikhel & Partners elaborates that

“The decree entitles legal entities and individual entrepreneurs who are residents of the High Technology Park (the HTP) to perform operations with tokens (including cryptocurrency).”  Further, she adds, “Others can use tokens in the territory of Belarus through residents of the HTP.”

What is an HTP?

The HTP is a special economic zone with a special tax and legal regime in Belarus, corresponding to Silicon Valley in the US. As per the website, 192 companies that develop software products and bestow IT services to customers from 67 countries around the globe are residents of the park, 35% of which include ventures with 100% foreign investments.

The park portrays itself as “the main experimental site for the implementation of pilot projects,” together with those based on cryptocurrencies. According to the proclamation this week:

The HTP Administration draws your attention to the fact that Decree No.8 ‘On the development of the digital economy’ comes into force on March 28, 2018.

No Restrictions and No Taxes

The HTP website further explained that

“The new decree legalizes ICOs, cryptocurrencies, and smart contracts. It does not imply any restrictions and special requirements for the operations of creation, placement, storage, alienation, exchange of tokens, as well as the activities of crypto exchanges and crypto platforms.”

In addition, the park elucidated:

“Activity such as mining, acquisition, alienation of tokens, carried out by individuals, are not entrepreneurial activities, and tokens are not subject to declaration. At the same time, until 2023, activities related to mining, the creation, acquisition and alienation of tokens are not taxed.”

Chelyshava enlightened that the decree also has included the definition of tokens, cryptocurrencies, and smart contracts.

“The definition given in the decree for cryptocurrency lists it as a version of the token,” she explains, in addition “for now the decree does not provide the criteria of cryptocurrency that would distinguish it from tokens.”

As for smart contracts, she clarifies that the definition “is broad enough to encompass various approaches to the understanding of smart contracts that exist now.” Moreover, she also expresses that

“The decree does not specify the nature of the certain civil right, and therefore the concept of ‘token’ is provided with a high degree of flexibility.”

The HTP celebrated that by making smart contracts legal documents, “Belarus becomes the first country in the world to legalize smart contracts at the country level,”

Anton Myakishev, the head of Microsoft’s Belarus office, told Reuters that “the decree is a breakthrough for Belarus,” further adding “it gives the industry the possibility to make a leap forward in its development and allows foreign capital the possibility to come to Belarus and work in comfortable conditions.”

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Tags: cryptocurrency activities initial coin offerings Smart Contracts digital economy

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