- In 2022, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree allowing the free circulation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the country.
- The announcement appears to somewhat contradict Belarus’ previous position on cryptocurrencies.
- Once in effect, Belarusians will not be able to use peer-to-peer crypto exchanges.
The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is drafting a new bill to outlaw peer-to-peer (P2P) cryptocurrency trading of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
On July 2, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the Republic of Belarus officially announced on Telegram a new law outlawing private peer-to-peer (P2P) cryptocurrency trading.
The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)’s announcement somewhat violates recent legislation that Belarus has passed. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko officially endorsed the free circulation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in 2022.
Belarus points to high cybercrime rate
Citing Belarus’ high cybercrime rate, officials claimed that since the beginning of the year, the local prosecutor’s office had blocked 27 citizens from providing “illegal cryptocurrency exchange services.”
Total proceeds from illicit proceeds amounted to approximately 22 million Belarusian rubles ($8.7 million).
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cryptocurrency P2P services are “in demand among thieves who want to convert stolen funds into cash and transfer them to criminal scheme organizers and participants.”
To eradicate such illegal activities (HTP), the MFA prohibits personal P2P and allows the exchange of cryptocurrencies only through cryptocurrency exchanges registered in the Belarusian Hi-Tech Park. It also said it would introduce practices “that make it impossible to withdraw illegally obtained funds” as well as procedures for currency exchange.