Belarus To Keep Liberal Bitcoin Rules, Russia Seeks Regulation

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Belarus’ regulator says it doesn’t want additional restrictions as the Russian Ministry of Finance calls for bitcoin regulation.

Belarus is reportedly not inclined to change its permissive bitcoin trading rules despite its neighbor and ally Russia having been drawn to considering a complete ban of trading and mining.

Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that Belarus’ cryptocurrency regulator, Hi-Tech Park, does not have plans to tighten its liberal bitcoin-related legislation.

“Restrictive changes to the existing regulatory model are not currently foreseen,” the press service of Hi-Tech Park, the Belarusian crypto-currency regulator, told Bloomberg by email.

In 2017, Belarus introduced a set of laws to encourage novel developments in the cryptocurrency space and granted its citizens the ability to buy, sell, hold, and mine bitcoin. Belarusians are also not required to report their bitcoin purchases and sales to tax authorities, the Bloomberg report noted.

Neighboring Russia has recently dabbled with increasing regulatory scrutiny towards bitcoin but different authorities have expressed contrasting views.

In December, news surfaced that the Russian central bank was seeking to prohibit citizens from investing in bitcoin and cryptocurrency out of concerns the activity would pose risks to the country’s financial stability. Last week, Bloomberg reported that the Bank of Russia proposed a blanket ban on the use and mining of all cryptocurrencies.

On the other hand, the Russian Ministry of Finance called for regulation on Tuesday, instead of a ban, confronting the central bank’s view and warning that prohibiting bitcoin mining and trading entirely could lead to Russia being left behind on the innovation technology industry.

“We need to regulate, not ban,” said Ivan Chebeskov, director of the financial policy department of the Ministry of Finance. “Regulation will protect citizens.”

Russia benefited greatly from the Chinese ban on bitcoin mining in the summer as many mining farms migrated to the country as low temperatures and low-cost energy posed an attractive duo. If a ban were to be enacted, Russia would lose most of these miners to another country and arguably not be able to enforce a trading ban.

“We need to give these technologies the opportunity to develop. In this regard, the Ministry of Finance is actively involved in the development of legislative initiatives in terms of regulating this market,” Chebeskov added.

Given Bitcoin’s inherent peer-to-peer nature, attempting to ban it hasn’t produced much results historically and the latest country to do so, China, is still home to several Bitcoin nodes and miners.

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