Showing posts with label legalization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label legalization. Show all posts

December 22, 2017

Belarus legalizes cryptocurrency payments & ICO's

By Alexander Lukashenko - December 22, 2017 (

Belarus, a country wedged between Russia and the European Union, recently legalized cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), in a move that’s set to drive private sector growth and attract foreign investors to the country, a former communist republic that’s still dominated by its state, filled with inefficient enterprises, and dependent on its neighbor Russia’s money and subsidies.

Bitcoin’s current crash, that’s already led the cryptocurrency below the $11,000 mark before it bounced back to $12,401 at press time, seemingly didn’t put off the country’s president, Alexander Lukashenko, who signed the decree on Friday while on the move.

The decree notably gives cryptocurrency enthusiasts tax breaks and legal incentives, as its goal is to help turn Belarus into an international tech haven, Bloomberg reports. In a statement Lukashenko, a former collective farm manager who’s in the past labeled the internet “garbage,” said:

“Belarus will become the first government in the world that opens wide opportunities for the use of blockchain technology (…) We have every chance of becoming a regional center in this area.”

Designed to attract cryptocurrency entrepreneurs looking to avoid regulatory scrutiny over cryptocurrency transactions and ICOs, the decree also exempts revenue and profits from all operations using cryptocurrencies for the next five years.

Speaking to Reuters, Anton Myakishev, the head of Microsoft’s offices in Belarus, stated that “the decree is a breakthrough for Belarus” as it gives the industry the “possibility to make a leap forward in its development,” while allowing foreign capital to enter it in comfortable conditions.

Creating a “Tech Nation”

Earlier this month, Lukashenko said that his goal in signing the decree is to turn Belarus into a “tech nation.” Not only does it legalize cryptocurrencies and ICOs, it also allows local IT companies to partly operate under English law, so it’ll help foreign investors who struggled to navigate the country’s legal system.

Denis Alinikov, a senior partner at private law firm Aleinikov and Partners, who helped draft the decree, stated:

“We regularly faced legal problems. When a Western company buys a Belarussian company they try to structure the deal outside Belarus. Investors don’t want to deal with Belarussian legislation.”

The decree further establishes a direct legal link between token issuers and their obligations towards its holders. To protect against fraud, it sets capital requirement for cryptocurrency exchange operators, while introducing smart contracts in the country.

The IT sector is one of the few that’s thriving in Belarus, as it attracts foreign workers who work for about five times the country’s average wage in its so-called Hi-Tech Park. It’s arguably the most prominent sector of the country’s economy, which is set to grow by 1.7 percent this year, according to Reuters.

Notably, Belarus was home to popular messenger application Viber, as well as the online gaming service World of Tanks, which made its founder the country’s first billionaire.

In an interview, Vsevolod Yanchevsky , head of the Hi-Tech Park, said:

“The decree has been written exactly the way our tech community wanted it. Belarus will be one of the best jurisdictions in the world for cryptocurrencies and blockchain.”

Belarus’ move may have been influenced by its neighboring country Russia, who’s upcoming draft law on cryptocurrency and ICO regulations is set to come on December 28. The law will reportedly consider cryptocurrencies as “other property,” and introduce possible limits on individual ICO investments.

The bill, which will prioritize the protection of retail investors, is likely going to be passed in March 2018. Back in October, President Putin approved a timeline for a framework on cryptocurrency regulations. Reportedly, the country may also soon be launching its own state-sponsored cryptocurrency, the Cryptoruble.

Alexander Lukashenko image from Shutterstock.

November 10, 2017

Bitcoin trade in Japan accounts for about half of the global trade volume

By Akiko Fujita - November 06, 2017 (CNBC International)

Japan made bitcoin a legal currency - now it's more popular than ever.

Bitcoin trade in Japan accounts for about half of the global trade volume. Compare that to 25 percent in US.

That number has surged since the government passed a new law earlier this year, recognizing Bitcoin as a legal form of payment.

That law encouraged some big retailers to partner with Bitcoin exchanges and begin accepting the digital currency.

There's already more than 4,500 stores that let you pay with Bitcoin here, and the Nikkei says that number could increase five-fold by the end of the year.

Japan’s legalization of Bitcoin led to rapid surge in mainstream adoption

By Joseph Young - November 10, 2017 (

The Japanese government’s legalization of bitcoin as a currency has led to a surge in mainstream adoption in the country.

The Japanese government’s legalization of bitcoin as a currency has led to a surge in mainstream adoption in the country, as major stores, merchants, and retailers have started to accept bitcoin payments.

Exponential Mainstream Adoption of Bitcoin in Japan

Over the past five months, some of Japan’s largest conglomerates including major budget airline operator Peach, leading electronics retailer Bic Camera, and the nation’s largest budget hotel chain Capsule have been accepting bitcoin payments by partnering with bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges.

The integration of bitcoin by Bic Camera has played a vital factor in triggering the increase in demand for bitcoin as a payment method within Japan, as unlike most countries, electronic retailers process the vast majority of electronics sales in the country, not e-commerce and online platforms.

More to that, several multi-billion dollar conglomerates have launched their own bitcoin exchanges with differing visions. Remixpoint for instance, a major electric grid operator in Japan, created Bitpoint, a bitcoin exchange, to process electricity and other utility bill payments from general consumers with bitcoin.

Currently, Nikkei, a Japanese business and finance news publication, estimates that 4,500 stores accept bitcoin as a major payment method. By the end of 2017, Nikkei revealed that the number could increase by five-fold, to 22,500.

In an interview with CNBC, bitcoin researcher Mai Fujimoto, who is better known as Miss Bitcoin, stated that smart and practical regulations by the Japanese government allowed general consumers in Japan to build trust in bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market.

“Many people have bitcoin now,” said Fujimoto. “Maybe we need time to use bitcoin [regularly] and [in the future] users will have to learn about bitcoin.”

Importance of Practical Regulatory Frameworks in Facilitating Rising Demand for Bitcoin

The approach of the Japanese government to regulate the bitcoin sector rather than to dismiss it has ultimately benefited both the government and general consumers, as it has created a more robust market which the government has, to a certain extent, control over, and users feel secure about their investments.

Previously, Yuzo Kano, the CEO of BitFlyer, the largest bitcoin exchange in Japan by trading volume with more than 800,000 active users, told Nathaniel Poppers of the New York Times that the Japanese financial market and the vast majority of its investors are extremely conservative when it comes to investments. But, he stated that once it is accepted by the public and the norm, conservative investors tend to go all-in.

Such trend has been evidently portrayed in the rapid adoption rate of bitcoin in Japan as a robust store of value, safe haven asset, and a widely acknowledged currency.

“Japanese people tend to be very conservative with their investments, but once they get triggered they go all in,” said Kano.