International

Belarus Legalizes Cryptocurrency Transactions To Boost Foreign Investment

Belarus has legalized cryptocurrency transactions in an attempt to boost private sector growth and foreign investment.

According to Reuters, President Alexander Lukashenko signed the decree on Thursday (Dec. 21).

While bitcoin plummeted to below $11,000 last week, its supporters dismiss warnings over volatility.

“All smart and intelligent people know what stability and order are,” Lukashenko was quoted as saying earlier this month. “They’re all trying to reach that shore. We’re prepared to arrange a dock and even a harbor.”

A former Soviet republic located between Russia and the European Union, Belarus has struggled to become independent of Russian money and subsidies. With that in mind, Lukashenko has introduced reforms to attract new businesses and bolster the economy after recession in 2015 and 2016.

This latest decree is designed to attract digital coin entrepreneurs who are moving their businesses to locations more welcoming to cryptocurrencies. It legalizes initial coin offerings and transactions in cryptocurrencies, including their exchange for traditional currencies on Belarusian exchanges. All trades will be tax-free for the next five years.

It also allows local IT companies to operate in part under English law, a bonus to potential foreign investors.

“The decree is a breakthrough for Belarus,” Anton Myakishev, the head of Microsoft’s Belarus office, told Reuters. “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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