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2 Jul, 2023 14:08

Bitcoin-friendly Belarus to tighten crypto controls

Minsk plans to ban crypto transactions between individuals
Bitcoin-friendly Belarus to tighten crypto controls

Belarus is working on an amendment to its crypto regulations that would ban the exchange of cryptocurrencies between individuals, the news outlet RBK reported on Sunday, citing a statement from the Belarusian Internal Affairs Ministry.

According to the ministry, the move aims to rein in the surge in crypto fraud.

Such transactions are in demand among fraudsters, who thus cash out and convert stolen funds, transfer sums of money to organizers or participants in criminal organizations,” the ministry was cited as saying.

According to the report, the authorities have apprehended 27 people who illegally facilitated crypto transactions since the beginning of the year. The transactions they were linked to amounted to 22 million Belarusian rubles ($8.8 million).

Once the regulation comes into force, crypto transactions in Belarus will only be possible through the Belarus Hi-Tech Park (HTP) exchanges for “transparency and control purposes.” HTP is a Belarusian IT hub with a special tax and legal regime.

Belarus legalized crypto-related activities such as mining and trading in 2018, as long as they are performed by entities registered under the HTP.

However, the government has been extensively working to stem illegal operations with cryptocurrencies. Last April, the Justice Ministry adopted a legal procedure that allowed crypto funds to be seized as part of law enforcement proceedings. Prior to that, President Alexander Lukashenko had ordered the establishment of a special register for crypto wallets that had been used for illicit purposes.

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