Regulation of Cryptocurrency and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in Belarus
On 21 December 2017, a decree on the development of the digital economy (Decree 8) designed to establish a regulatory regime for cryptocurrencies, ICOs and smart contracts was issued by the government of Belarus . Its provisions came into force on 28 March 2018 .
Decree 8 legalised ICOs in Belarus, as well as cryptocurrency mining and other transactions.
Residents of Belarus’ High Technology Park (HTP) can now legally launch ICOs, deal in tokens and hold them in virtual wallets. No tax will apply to cryptocurrencies, tokens and profit from cryptocurrency operations in the subsequent five years. Decree 8 also introduces regulations to simplify the visa regime for HTP residents, freeing them of the obligation to apply for work permits by way of waiver and by granting them temporary residency status in Belarus.
It has been reported  that amendments to Decree 8 are being prepared, according to which crypto exchanges operating in the HTP will be required to disclose their data and identify customers. In addition, crypto exchanges wishing to open in the HTP will have to provide information on their management structure and beneficial owners. Operators will be required to identify the clients of the exchange, and record and store all communications with them. In certain cases, exchanges in the HTP will be required to conduct customer verification procedures. Information about customers and their transactions should be stored at the crypto exchange for at least five years.
The Ministry of Finance of Belarus adopted accounting standards for cryptocurrencies in March 2018 . Tokens are required to be entered into a company’s accounting records at initial cost, and they will be classified according to their method of acquisition and intended use.
- Tokens purchased through ICOs are classified as investments, and will therefore need to be debited as “Long-term financial investments” if their circulation period is greater than 12 months, or otherwise as “Short-term financial investments”, and credited under “Settlements with different debtors and creditors” and “Other income and expenses”.
- Tokens purchased by a trader or an exchange for subsequent trading should be debited under the “Goods” account and credited under “Settlements with suppliers and contractors” and “Income and expenses for current activities”.
- Tokens acquired from mining should be debited under the “Finished goods” account and credited under the “Main activities” account.
Note: The above represents Charltons’ current understanding of the regulation of ICOs in different jurisdictions. Charltons advises only on Hong Kong law and while the above represents our understanding of the legal position in certain other jurisdictions, legal advice from qualified lawyers in the relevant jurisdictions should be sought in relation to any particular transaction or situation. Further, this note is intended for educational purposes and it does not constitute Hong Kong legal advice. Specific advice must be sought in relation to any particular situation.
- Baker Mckenzie. “New Developments of the Digital Economy in Belarus”. 27 March 2018. <https://www.bakermckenzie.com/en/insight/publications/2018/03/new-developments-of-the-digital-economy-in-belarus/>
- Belarus.by. “Belarus’ Digital Economy Development Ordinance comes into force”. 28 March 2018. <http://www.belarus.by/en/press-center/news/belarus-digital-economy-development-ordinance-comes-into-force_i_0000076762.html>
- Cointelegraph. “Belarus: Some Crypto Exchanges Will be Required to Hand over Customer Data, Report Says.” <https://cointelegraph.com/news/belarus-some-crypto-exchanges-will-be-required-to-hand-over-customer-data-report-says>
- Bitcoin.com. “Belarus Adopts Crypto Accounting Standard”. 26 March 2018. <https://news.bitcoin.com/belarus-adopts-crypto-accounting-standard/>