Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko is pursuing the dream of a total national rebranding. Lukashenko is looking to change the country’s major export from potatoes to blockchain startups. As a point, he has decided to get as liberal with crypto regulations as possible.
One of the most discussed milestones related to this goal was The Presidential Decree №8 “On the Development of the Digital Economy” that came into force on the 28th March 2018. This document was also aimed at the development of the Hi-Tech Park – the field of innovations. It is also to be assisting in the launching of the country’s digital economy.
The new law seemed like the great start for another crypto hub. It holds hope to attract dozens of crypto startups, hundreds of talented blockchain developers and millions of dollars of investments to the country’s economy. As it was estimated, the Decree would lead to increase of IT export volumes by $4.7 billion USD per year (versus $1 billion USD) by 2030 and foreign investments in the industry by $4 billion USD (versus $0.8 billion USD) and to create 100,000 working positions (versus 30,000) in the country’s IT field.
However, not much was happening in regards to the Belarusian blockchain take off since March. In April 2018, there was an announcement about the opening of a mining hotel in Lida. The next month, the country made it in the top ten states with the most crypto-friendly legislation based on BlockShow Europe Conference judgments. The most recent news is an interview of Andrei Dapkiunas, Belarusian deputy foreign minister who, during his visit to South Korea on the first week of September, repeatedly emphasized to JoongAng Daily that Belarus is interested in luring Korean investors to the country’s growing blockchain industry.
So why exactly Belarus is not a major crypto hub, like Malta or Gibraltar, yet?
As stated the influential Eastern European media Dsnews.ua in their investigation, the primary problem of Decree №8 is the lack of legal frameworks for new businesses to operate in the new market’s reality.
The whole document deeply affected citizens – they can buy, sell, or exchange crypto legally, no taxes or questions asked. But as soon as those citizens try to launch their business in the field, the lack of laws complicates things. This could be to build an actual crypto exchange or start the blockchain company.
So, launching the blockchain company in the country is a risky venture to any prominent foreign investor. At the moment Hi-Tech Park was put in charge of making things better. Currently, the organization is developing the standards including crypto exchanges workflow, the legal framework for token sales, and thinking of integration of KYC/AML procedures to any crypto related activities. Let’s wait and see. Who knows, maybe there will be more Belarusian initial coin offerings (ICOs) rather than sorts of root vegetables. The time will show.