The Belarusian government is currently devising plans to enact a ban on peer-to-peer (P2P) crypto trading, justifying their decision by pointing to the high crime rate associated with such P2P activities. The country’s Ministry of Internal Affairs announced the move via a telegram post.
In the recent announcement, it was reported that law enforcement agencies apprehended 27 individuals engaged in illicit peer-to-peer (P2P) trading this year alone. The individuals pocketed a substantial sum of 22 million rubles (equivalent to 8.7 million USD) in revenue from their business. It was further revealed that these P2P trading operations predominantly catered to criminals seeking to exchange their ill-gotten gains and facilitate their network of illegal activities.
To address the illegal activities and enhance oversight, the Ministry of Internal Affairs is currently working on legislative changes that will forbid P2P crypto transactions. Citizens will only be allowed to conduct such financial transactions through designated HTP (High-Tech Park) exchanges which will be subject to regulatory oversight and compliance measures.
The new practice which will be implemented will mirror that adopted for exchanging foreign currencies and will have a significant impact on combating criminal activities related to money obtained through illegal means.
By adopting this measure, it will become financially unviable for fraudsters to operate within the country, potentially deterring criminal activities and promoting a safer economic environment. The report reads: “The introduction of a practice similar to the procedure for exchanging foreign currencies will make it impossible to withdraw money obtained by criminal means. Under such conditions, it will simply become unprofitable for information technology fraudsters to operate in Belarus.”
Tax incentives for blockchain companies
Belarus is taking proactive steps to cleanse the crypto space of malicious actors, simultaneously extending a warm welcome to blockchain companies looking to establish operations within the country.
In March this year, the President Aleksander Lukashenko issued a decree that grants miners and other participants in the crypto space the privilege of conducting their operations in Belarus without the obligation to pay value-added tax, income tax, or personal income tax until 2025.
The Eastern European nation is also actively considering the introduction of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). The Chairman of Belarus Central Bank, Pavel Kallaur, disclosed this development in April, expressing that the digital ruble could potentially become a reality by the end of the year.
“We are working on building a demo version, a platform to try it out…By the end of the year, we must, having held discussions and consultations, decide on the feasibility and possibility of introducing the digital ruble in our country,” he said.
By doing so, it joined the likes of Colombia who partnered with Ripple to explore the development of a CBDC.