On June 10, 12 commercial and state banks in Belarus received permission from the national central bank to issue digital tokens. These digital offers will be distributed through a pilot program that will be carried out soon.
According to Sputnik Belarus, the country has adopted Decree Number 8, „on the development of the digital economy“, giving the National Bank of Belarus the power to implement the dynamics of the digital economy in banks.
The government framework will create the required legal environment for the initial offers of coins, or ICOs, in Belarus, the pilot program will run from January 1, 2021, to January 1, 2024.
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The pilot programme will take place in a blockchain free trade zone
Participating banks include the Swiss-Belarusian Bank, BTA Bank and the Belarusian People’s Bank. It also includes Belarusbank, which is the largest bank in the country.
The pilot program will be carried out in the Hi-Tech Park, a blockchain free trade zone based in Minsk and also home to several cryptomint mining centers.
The report adds that the National Bank gave banks the authority to collect funds from their ICOs in Belarusian rubles from domestic individuals or companies.
However, the central bank stated that banks would not be able to receive crypto-currencies during the pilot program, non-citizens can still buy tokens using domestic or foreign trust money.
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A final decision could be made in March 2024
Sputnik explains that participation in the pilot will be limited to 10% of the banks‘ regulatory capital.
By 1 March 2024, the President of Belarus is expected to decide whether or not to extend the programme, or even make it a permanent feature.
Cointelegraph reported on March 9 that the Committee of Inquiry of the Republic of Belarus is planning a legal initiative Bitcoin Evolution that would allow this authority to confiscate cryptomoney generated through illegal activities.
In 2019, the Belarusian attorney general expressed concerns about the role that crypto currencies could play in tax evasion within the country.