Belarus’ Cryptocurrency Experiment: Why the World Should Take Notice

On December 21, 2017, Alexander Lukashenko, the President of the Republic of Belarus signed Decree No. 8, “On the Development of the Digital Economy” (“the Decree”), aimed at the development of the digital economy in the Republic of Belarus by regulating blockchain, cryptocurrencies, tokens, mining, smart contracts, and defining the legal status of such new subjects as crypto-platform operators and cryptocurrency exchange operators. The rules of the Decree are unique, and is in some ways more advanced than even the most highly developed jurisdictions.

The Decree entitles legal entities and individual entrepreneurs who are residents of the High Technology Park (the HTP) to perform operations with tokens (including cryptocurrency). Others can use tokens in the territory of Belarus through residents of the HTP.

From a legal point of view, the most interesting aspect of the Decree is the regulation of newly introduced technological instruments such as blockchain, tocken, and smart contracts.

The Decree defines the blockchain as a sequence of blocks built on the basis of given algorithms in a distributed decentralized information system using cryptographic methods of information protection, that contains information about operations performed in such a system. Despite the fact that the definition does not cover any legal aspects of blockchain use, the advantage of the definition is that it is very broad and can cover many possible implementations of the blockchain. The definition covers other distributed information systems in which centralization elements can be present, no matter on which platform they are implemented, in addition to the “classic” blockchain. This gives elements of technological neutrality to the appropriate regulation.

As carried in jurist

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