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Belarus to create a regulatory environment for circulation of cryptocurrencies (dev.by)
226 points by anorsich 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 135 comments



The blockchain hype seems to have some parallels to the Second Life[1] one. The technology isn't quite there, the valuations are immense, and it all seems like a real life implementation of a Neal Stephenson novel. Second Life doesn't seem to have gone anywhere but it doesn't mean cryptocurrencies won't as well. From the outside they do look just as niche and generally lacking in use cases.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Life


Second life is as far as I am aware actually profitable.


Right, as far as I'm aware, no one ever has made any money from Bitcoin, and its 1000s of % increases in less than a year.


>Right, as far as I'm aware, no one ever has made any money from Bitcoin

what about people who bought low and sold high? im sure there's at least 1 person who did that. or are you talking about making money from holding bitcoin?


I made quite a lot from bitcoin so far.


I think he was being sarcastic


Here, be aware of myself, who used cryptocurrency as a means to pay off student loans.


Your observations are more due to how humans adopt new technology (speculation, early adoption, etc.) than because of similarities between Second Life and blockchain technology. Second Life has very limited utility; it's a video game. Blockchains are the result of protocols that could be used to do work.


Second Life is a virtual world where virtual stuff can be traded.

Blockchain technology is real world technology. It can help to solve really challenging problems and make real world systems more efficient / productive / cost effective / autonomous.

The two are in no way comparable... if you're looking for a comparison to Second Life which happens to use blockchain technology, check out Decentraland: https://decentraland.org/


Bitcoin is no more real life than Second Life is -- both exist in our reality just the same. Virtual goods in second life are no more virtual than bitcoins are -- both are just bits on some hard drives that people agreed to be worth something. There are significant differences between Bitcoin and Second Life, the lack of centralized control in the former being the biggest, but they aren't what you described in your comment.


> Bitcoin is no more real life than Second Life is

Not a big fan of bitcoin here, but there is a difference which I don't think it's captured by that "lack of centralized control". And it is that bitcoins exist as some sort of mathematical object, that is guaranteed in its working and will exist forever as long as there are people mining the blockchain.

They remind me a bit of the ever expanding, mathematically deterministic Autoverse in Egan's Permutation City, for those who have read the novel.


There nothing mathematical about guarantees for bitcoins continuing existence — it really boils down to the social contract between miners that agree to use the same set of rules. See for example the result of the Dao hack in Ethereum world — if there really was any mathematical guarantee to Eth smart contracts, you’d imagine you couldn’t simply revert them by updating the software. The parallel to Egan’s dust theory is interesting, but only valid as long as someone is actually mining blocks using old clients nobody cares about in the long forgotten forks of the chain, which doesn’t really happen.


You're making the virtual/real world dichotomy with the hindsight of knowing that Second Life didn't go anywhere. People back then also called it a technology: it's a technology that allows e.g. in-person meetings without the need for displacement. It's a technology that disrupts physical space, the ultimate disruption!

No, sorry, such dichotomy is irrelevant. What's relevant is that Second Life didn't get traction.

How's Bitcoin doing as a technology? Lots of traction! Now it remains to be seen where it can keep it. What applications does it have? I'm not sure, as right now there's some 250k backlogged transactions because currently the blockchain can't seem to handle even a trivial number of transactions.


> Lots of traction!

If by traction you mean massive, wild speculation. If by "traction" you mean "shipped a functional product that does something for the mainstream", bitcoin has a long way to go. In fact, Bitcoin's flaws are so deep and unfixable it will never see non-speculatie mainstream adoption, period. Same with pretty much the entire crypto "space".


Blockchains reached a valuation of $0.5 trillion and attracted all the biggest financial institutions (Goldman Sachs yesterday). Second Life traction never got even a fraction of that. Also Blockchain growth has been going for 9 years now, Second Life growth lasted 3 years (http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2011/11/why_...).


> Blockchains reached a valuation of $0.5 trillion and attracted all the biggest financial institutions (Goldman Sachs yesterday)

You know how bubbles work, right? What I mean is that what you've described is compatible with the "bubble" hypothesis just as it is compatible with the "disruption" hypothesis. I need to see the thing solving problems to believe the thing.

This is just me though, I'm not trying to convince you. The point I meant to make in my previous post was not a case for/against Bitcoin, but against the idea that "Bitcoin is nothing like Second life". It is in some important sense: there is a reasonable case for both and it's still too early (now for Bitcoin as at the time for SL) whether they can deliver on their promises of disruption.

EDIT: But if you want to talk about the credibility of Bitcoin, I notice you didn't respond to my observation. I don't care if it's $0.5tr or $500tr: there's still a backlog of 250k transactions. The thing is unusable right now. Now, this might be solved, yes. But right now it's a serious concern. Do you not agree?


There definitely was a virtual world craze, with tons of VC money, the like of IBM investing, and Second Life clones popping up left, right and middle. Putting "Virtual World" in your pitch was a near-guarantee of raising funds. Gartner was predicting that "80 Percent of Active Internet Users Will Have A "Second Life" in the Virtual World by the End of 2011" [1]

And yet here we are.

It's easy to dismiss in hindsight. If crypto-currencies turn out a fad it will have been so easy to predict that people will wonder how anyone could be tricked into buying. And if it eventually succeed, people will wonder why anyone could be this stupid not to have invested, since success was so obvious.

[1] https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/503861


I'm wondering how usable they actually are for normal people in stable countries. They have shown to work very well for darknet markets and things like that but I wonder if there really is a use case for most people.

I live in Sweden and I can buy something from the US in minutes over the Internet and the fees are pretty reasonable. Would a crypto currency have any advantage over the current situation?


Have goldman made another announcement or are they still just acting as a clearning house for futures?


Oddly enough I discovered recently that SL still has an ongoing userbase, and a smallish economy of people selling each other models, tools, clothing and various other bits and pieces.

I'm sure the userbase has dropped off massively since the hype phase, and I'd be surprised if anyone's making millions from SL "Real" estate any more, but it seems to still have its niche.

I wonder if ten years down the line BTC will have found a niche like that, where it ticks along unremarkably, just being used rather than hyped.


You're just in the middle of being disrupted with whats called a black and white swan event.


I assume you mean just “black swan”? I was curious about the white swan bit - maybe it was an orthogonal concept? But I settled on the regular kind.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_swan_theory


They might mean a swan that is black on one side but white on the other, i.e. gives the appearance of being an extremely rare or a very common event, while in fact being the opposite.


Surely that's even more rare than a black swan?


Lol

Ironically, a black swan isn't really at all - just unknown. Which really is Taleb's point: black swans aren't as rare as they are priced to be.


Bitcoin might be exactly like second life . Without second life we wouldn’t have World of Warcraft , Eve online and every other MMO. I can’t wait until blockchain becomes corporate !


Erm, MMOs predated Second Life by many years. Even discounting MUDs and so forth, Ultima Online was around about 5 or 6 years before Second Life.


and SHADES which used to run on the UK's PRESTEL system


EverQuest, Ultima Online? You have your history backwards


Just FYI Belarus is not a democracy and the laws change at the whim of the rulers. Read the journal of this blogger who got arrested there https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/blogs-trending-38804499, the people(the foreign nationals) who were in jail with him...


The thing about Belarus is not that laws change at whim. They are not. According a lawyer I know from Belarus in courts small and not so small cases are considered rather fairly. One in principle can count that in a daily life rule of laws applies and the level of corruption is not that bad.

But the moment your case is perceived by authorities as political or somebody with power finds your business interesting, one gets BIG troubles. Now, by playing by the rules one can protect somewhat from the "business" interests, so the situation is better than, for example, in Russia. But political part is very unpredictable and it is impossible to know which action can cross the line.


> The thing about Belarus is not that laws change at whim. They are not.

Lukashenko is a dictator. Being able to change laws at a whim is a defining characteristic of dictatorship.


By that definition Lukashenko is not a dictator. The protest the last spring resulting in reversal of his decree shows that he has constrains and cannot change laws at whim.


No man rules alone.


Just like issuing executive orders, right?


If you're referring to EO's issued by the President of the United States, you should be aware that EO's only have the force of law within two scopes of power:

* power delegated to the President by statute passed by Congress

* powers explicitly and exclusively delegated to the President by the Constitution (of which there are few)

It's a misconception that the President can issue an "executive order" that overrules Congress. Such an order would have no force, and would fail in front of a federal court --- you saw this with the original Trump Muslim Ban.


You're confusing actions taken by the executive branch with actions taken by the legislative branch. For a dictator like Lukashenko there is no difference. In democratic states they are quire different.


It amazes me that people still want to exclaim “Democracy!” in the same manner others (ab-)used “Communism!” when Agamben's very comprehensible works are easily available.


> But the moment your case is perceived by authorities as political or somebody with power finds your business interesting, one gets BIG troubles.

It is quite typical for many countries and Belarus is definitely not the worst one in this sense. For example, the situation in Latvia and Estonia is much worse because everything is ok and fair but only until you have "right" ethnic origin (citizen of 1st class) - otherwise, if you do not belong to the titular nation then you are in trouble - the whole system will play against you.


To claim that the Latvia and Estonia, two of the most open liberal democracies in the world, are in any way worse than the totalitarian dictatorship Belarus is totally ridiculous. You're either being disingenuous, or you've totally bought into Putin's propaganda.


Belarus is may be dictatorship, but it's for sure not totalitarian. And if you think that nacist Latvia is open liberal democracy you bought into propaganda.


> The thing about Belarus is not that laws change at whim. They are not. According a lawyer I know from Belarus in courts small and not so small cases are considered rather fairly. One in principle can count that in a daily life rule of laws applies and the level of corruption is not that bad.

No, not really. Especially not if you are conducting business.


This blogger was arrested because Interpol issued warrant for his arrest. Belarus as law-abiding member of Interpol just complied with rules, he was extradited to the country that made request, afaik.

I wouldn't trust the guy who broke the law on purpose. What he did is entered the territory using a fake passport, after he was specifically told by the government the he can't do this. And he did it not for any valid reason, but just to create hype in his blog. Pretty idiotic thing to do.

Anyway situation with this blogger is totally irrelevant to the Decree of Digital Economy that was signed today.


> This blogger was arrested because Interpol issued warrant for his arrest

I am having trouble finding an independent source for this claim.


https://belapan.com/archive/2017/02/07/887716/

Belapan is one of the biggest informational agencies in Belarus.

Российско-израильский блогер Александр Лапшин был задержан в Минске 14 декабря 2016 года по запросу Азербайджана, который объявил его в международный розыск за незаконное посещение Нагорного Карабаха.

The Russian-Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin was detained in Minsk on December 14, 2016 at the request of Azerbaijan, who declared him on the international wanted list for illegally visiting Nagorno-Karabakh.

Лукашенко заявил, а Шуневич подтвердил, что Лапшин был задержан в Минске не по инициативе Азербайджана, а потому, что находился в розыске по линии Интерпола. "Мы согласно решению Интерпола его задержали. И согласно всем законам и порядку мы должны его передать Азербайджану.

Lukashenko said, and Shunevich (Minister of Internal Affairs) confirmed that Lapshin was detained in Minsk not on the initiative of Azerbaijan, but because he was wanted by the Interpol line. "We, according to the decision of Interpol, detained him and, according to all laws and order, we must transfer it to Azerbaijan.

Belarus had no interest in this guy and his destiny. He has 3 citizenship (Russia, Israel and Ukraine (denounced)) and got himself in the middle of Azerbaijan-Armenian conflict. All this countries, except for Ukraine wanted Belarus to do something different, release him, transfer him, etc. Belarus just did what international law says and washed the hands off. Right after he was transferred to Azerbaijan he apologized for wrong-doing and was released by the president of Azerbaijan and sent home to Israel.


> Belapan is one of the biggest informational agencies in Belarus

Emphasis on "independent". I see a bunch of Belarussian sources saying he had an Interpol warrant out and a bunch of Armenian sources saying he didn't [1]. BBC simply says "Azerbaijan issued an arrest warrant" for Lapshin's arrest [2], with no mention of Interpol. (Note: Interpol's charter bans, at least in theory, disputes of a political nature [3].)

[1] https://armenpress.am/eng/news/878141/lapshin-has-never-been...

[2] https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/blogs-trending-38804499

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpol


Right, Armenian sources obviously not independent in this case. Azerbaijan has a beef with Armenia about non-recognized territory that this guy visited and wrote in his blog how he fooled Azerbaijan military and same crap that he wrote about Belarusian jail. Azerbaijan started criminal case for Lapshin using fake Ukrainian passport (renounced in 2011) to enter the country and of course Armenia supports him for visiting the territory that they consider it's own. I don't want to dig into this conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia and take sides, but I understand why Armenian sources will be writing anything against Azerbaijan.

I think decision to transfer this guy to Azerbaijan was the right one. He violated the law, used the fake passport and wrote crap about them as a country. Why Belarus should cover up his shit and decide who's right and wrong in this story? They got the warrant and send his ass there. Done deal.

Next time when you travel, use valid passport, be respectful to the locals and you get the same treatment in return. Always worked for me. He did totally opposite and got burned. Good thing he's doing OK now, at home and hopefully learned the lesson.


> I think decision to transfer this guy to Azerbaijan was the right one

That's cool but not what we're talking about. OP said Belarus jailed a journalist. You said it was in response to an Interpol warrant. We have impartial evidence of the jailing. We have no impartial evidence of your claim.


Well, by now on you've read the article by Belapan where you saw the quote that arrest was made based on the Interpol warrant by request of Azerbaijan. Belapan is independent news agency, at least they claim so on their website. It's not state owned, Belta is. How is my evidence is partial then?

P.S. Also he's a blogger, not journalist. And the story of Belarusian jail that OP referring to is full of shit, even some Belarusian opposition members who spent some time there, not few days like this guy, wrote in comments to the article that he wrote mostly bullshit. Of course it's not a resort, and for someone who got there first time it can be tough and shocking, but it's not as bad, as he describes.


"some Belarusian opposition members" you mean the ones who Lukashenko jailed and then released on a condition they work for him?

I have been reading this guy for many years and tend to believe him more than the "Belarusian opposition journalists" (Belarusian opposition can exist only outside of Belarus or inside mother earth).


So, you believe that Minsk jail looks like Osvencim and populated with Gestapo cops then? I don't need opposition journalists to tell that his story full of shit, I can see misconceptions myself. F.e. he claims that you not allowed to read books in jail and I know for a fact it's not true.

What I think happened, after he was released by Azerbaijan he decided to make as much profit out of this story by generated hype as possible. And wrote the fairy-tale about this jail. Don't get me wrong, those jails are bad, but things that he says in the story are simply not true.

Jails are bad in any country, read here about American jails if you think Belarusian jail is bad:

romanvega.ru

10 years without trial, how about that?


> What I think happened

The point of sources is to separate reality from what some guy on the internet thinks happened. I believe you are being deluded or disengenuoid in this thread.


I think you came to this thread to troll, so I'm stopping to feed you. Bye.


Just FYI, Belarusians often refer to Donald Trump as the american Lukashenka. They share quite a few traits.


<<ust FYI, Belarusians often refer to Donald Trump as the american Lukashenka.>>

Not true. I'm Belarusian, and it's the first time I'm seeing this. I cannot say for every compatriot, of course, but "Belarusians often refer" implies something well-known, and it's not the case here. Truth be told, thoughts of majority of Belarusians do not revolve around US policy.


I imagine all leaders share some traits no matter how good, evil, or truly monstrous they are. The reality is, however, that Americans can vote their leader out of office in a couple of years while in Belarus they just cannot.


Of course they can. They just chose to re-elect him. Belarus is a democratic republic with proper election system.


It's not hard to choose when there's only 1 real candidate. USSR had elections too.


There were 4 candidates on the last elections. More than in US, AFAIK.


Every election in Belarus in the last couple of decades is a circus. Lukashenko rules for 23 years now having complete control over elections.


The US had scores of candidates, if you think it's any useful metric.

http://www.politics1.com/p2016.htm

There are effectively no elections held in Belarus since 1994. Any true contenders are crushed and imprisoned, and the votes aren't counted either way.


Like it means something, there was just one controlling counting of votes. Sorry, even his fans here in Belarus don't take 'elections' seriously.


It is not about the number of candidates and freedom of choice. A true democracy needs its own Guantanamo (US) and citizens of 1st and 2nd classes (Estonia, Latvia). And the most important factor is who is your friend because these friends will eventually decide who you are. There were many classical dictatorships which were treated as democracies and vice versa.


At least Americans can vote against Trump on the next elections.


Belarusian here. I would describe Donald Trump as american Yeltsin, but whatever.


That's funny, although Trump doesn't drink but this kinda makes sense


I knew this was somehow his fault. Thanks, trump. Looks like their crypto currency plans are going to be similar too...


Any gov't were lobby has more power then voters is by definition not a democracy.

> the laws change at the whim of the rulers.

There are not too many (probably non at all) places were law changes are voted on by the general public directly.

I really do not think that calling some place "undemocratic" helps. What is more interesting to me is to what extend a place rulers/rules promote or counter oppression.


> I really do not think that calling some place "undemocratic" helps

Democracies are more stable and tend to contain healthier economies, in the long run [1]. Commerce doesn't care about "what extend [sic]...rulers/rules promote or counter oppression." It is meaningful, on the other hand, to consider how long a regime (and thus one's investments) will last, the odds of your employees being jailed for falling out of political favor, whether favorable rules (such as this one) could be re-written, again on someone's whim, et cetera.

[1] https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-p...


> Democracies are more stable and tend to contain healthier economies, in the long run [1].

Good for the economies. But some great economies happen in non-democratic places. It tells me nothing. I'm more concerned with fighting oppression than promoting the growth of "healthier economy" (what ever that may mean).

> It is meaningful, on the other hand, to consider how long a regime (and thus one's investments) will last

Investment of worker's means (like his house): sure.

Investment of a billionaires fortune: I do not give a shit, it's not in my interest to protect that kind of investment. For the record: I do not believe investment creates jobs, I believe increased consumption and protective economic policy create jobs.

> the odds of your employees being jailed for falling out of political favor

Now THAT'S oppression right there! I really hate that to happen, not because some company owner has to find a new employee, but because a person and their social environment is ripped to pieces.

> whether favorable rules (such as this one) could be re-written, again on someone's whim

Rules favourable to what? Billionaires? Or the common people?

Ask yourself: can you really define the word "economy" unambiguously? Or are you chasing a spook?


> I do not believe investment creates jobs, I believe increased consumption and protective economic policy create jobs.

You are entitled to your beliefs, but factually you are completely wrong. Without investment, you have no goods to consume. A bicycle consists of many parts. You can’t buy a bicycle without someone willing to mine the metals necessary to make those parts. You can’t mine metals without money to hire people and buy equipment to extract and process those ores. Since people don’t work on contingency, it requires an investment in order to pay people and buy stuff to extract the ores and then someone has to buy the resulting metal and create the tooling to create bicycle parts — which requires capital.

Let’s say government can do all of that — where does government get the money? Taxes. Where do taxes come from? They come from taking a share of people’s production. If people aren’t producing anything, they have nothing to tax.

I suppose investment doesn’t create jobs if you have a society of pure slavery.

Protective economic policy doesn’t create jobs — it stifles them. North Korea isn’t known for its booming economy (or full employment) because they don’t have much outside investment.

Investment absolutely creates jobs because there is one human truth that can’t be escaped — people need to eat and thus they need to be paid. Getting by paid comes from capital and capital comes from investment.

Almost the entirety of Silicon Valley was built on investment. And that creates millions of jobs around the world. Apple alone employs hundreds of thousands in China — jobs that would not exist without investment. Don’t believe me? Have a look at the Chinese poverty and unemployment rates in 1970 long before they began opening up to outside investment.

I get it that’s many people seem to dream of a socialist utopia — however that is a fantasy. It doesn’t exist and it never has because people are fundamentally driven by their need to eat.


I think you may be talking past each other.

It's true that investment creates jobs, but it's also true that there's no investment without consumption.

The current prevailing economic policy consensus is very much misguided in that it only focuses on increasing investment. But investments just won't happen when there's nobody (or rather: not enough demand) to buy the resulting products.

This is why we need more policies that aim at consumption.

As a final thought: the reason why our prevailing economic policy consensus is misguided in the way it is is probably mostly down to motivated reasoning. If your goal is aiming at consumption, you have to look at the lower end of the income and wealth scale (because that's where the marginal propensity to consume is high). If your real goal is to make life even easier for the wealthy, it's comparatively easier to hide corresponding policies under the mantle of helping investment. Hence the focus on investment.


> The current prevailing economic policy consensus is very much misguided in that it only focuses on increasing investment

This is a straw man [1]. Consumption is generally recognized as being the dominant component of market economies' GDPs. The IMF's position with regards to China has been, consistently and for years, that they are prioritizing investment over consumption to the detriment of stability.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man


> > I do not believe investment creates jobs, I believe increased consumption and protective economic policy create jobs.

> You are entitled to your beliefs

Thank you :)

> but factually you are completely wrong. Without investment, you have no goods to consume.

I'm not saying investment in not needed at all. I'm saying that it does not create jobs. The demand for bicycles creates jobs. Not the investment in the production process.

The investment follows the (predicted) consumption.

> I suppose investment doesn’t create jobs if you have a society of pure slavery.

Seriously? Slavery has often been "invested" in. They merrily went hand in hand. Societies that did not have a capital system (like native americans or aborigines) sure were not all slaves. Your statement make no sense.

> Protective economic policy doesn’t create jobs — it stifles them. North Korea isn’t known for its booming economy (or full employment) because they don’t have much outside investment.

I have no idea, nor interest in NK, in this matter. Look at Taiwan, Singapore and HongKong. They were protective and managed to race out of poverty. Now look at the countries that signed every trade agreement the IMF made them sign: all fucked.

> Investment absolutely creates jobs because there is one human truth that can’t be escaped — people need to eat and thus they need to be paid. Getting by paid comes from capital and capital comes from investment.

Dead wrong again. Am economically-rational business owner would rather not pay anyone. The only reason he does is because he needs the worker in order to supply the demand. THE DEMAND comes first, consumption comes first. Thus investment does not create jobs: increased consumption does.

There's a chicken-egg problem there, a consumer needs money to consume, and that often comes from jobs. Investment can break that cycle, but it can just as easily fuck it up. And --as I mentioned-- investment follow (predicted) consumption.

> I get it that’s many people seem to dream of a socialist utopia — however that is a fantasy. It doesn’t exist and it never has because people are fundamentally driven by their need to eat.

If that need is frustrated, yes. But often we have enough food, and housing, and then it starts to get interesting. I'm not dreaming of a soc utopia, I'm being realistic in knowing that it is increased consumption and protective econ policy that creates jobs.

Investment follows.


> Look at Taiwan, Singapore and HongKong. They were protective

You literally picked three free trading economies [1], each highly reliant on foreign investment. Hong Kong was explicitly established as a free trading nexus for London and China. The IMF has for years been asking Hong Kong to increase regulation [2].

In contrast to Belarus, you also picked at least two countries which have defined themselves, in large part, around a respect for the rule of law.

[1] http://www.columbia.edu/~ap2231/ET/et27-june01.htm

[2] http://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2017/11/29/ms112917-chin...


> You literally picked three free trading economies

Yes! Protective econ policy does not mean to close borders. It means to open/close when it makes domestic sense. And I'm not talking about their policy today, I mean their policy over the years of working their way out of poverty.


But people do work on contingency, all the time.


Thanks for the link, but you should have given the one to directly download the article: https://sci-hub.la/https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007123497000197


> Just FYI Belarus is not a democracy

Democracies are overrated. It's not the "silver-bullet-regime", and has it's own set of flaws compared to others. Why is everyone thinking that living in a democracy makes de-facto your life better ?


Nobody said it living in a democracy makes your life better, the comment only mentioned it because it means that laws are not iron-clad and can change on a dime - which means the news that offering full bitcoin regulation could easily change tomorrow.


No taxes (until 2023) on mining, selling/buying tokens. Here are details:

• The rights of physical and legal entities in terms of token circulation are defined. Legal entities are entitled to possess tokens, create and list their own tokens through HTP residents; buy, exchange tokens and perform other operations using tokens only through the cryptocurrency exchanges and cryptocurrency exchange operators. • Individuals are entitled to possess tokens; perform mining; exchange tokens, buy and sell them for Belarusian rubles, foreign currency, e-money, as well as present and bequeath tokens. The mining activity of individuals, tokens purchasing and sale shall not be considered entrepreneurial activity. • Tokens and revenues from operations with them shall not be subject to declaration by the individuals. • Turnovers, profits (income, proceeds) from various operations with tokens are not recognised as taxable items until January 2023.


Some oligarch must've invested into cryptocurrencies, otherwise they wouldn't give a crap about it.


We don't have oligarchs in Belarus :) Victor Prokopenia (https://www.facebook.com/viktor.prokopenya), one of the most famous investors and businessman from Belarus is the one who actually influenced these changes.


Victor Prokopenia was jailed in 2015 and detained for many months. Once he was released, he started consulting president's inner circles. This policy of carrot and stick is what prevents the appearance of oligarchs in Belarus. They are intimidated before they become too powerful to ignore. Very little information leaks about the reasons of such detentions and liberations.


The reasons are well known, budget needs money and rich people are good source of it.


That's a weird set of colleges attended. 7 degrees, with Stanford and Full Sail both in the mix?


Victor often refers learning and education as his hobby.


So we're all setting up shop in Belarus to get our Crypto profits tax-free?


There are plenty of European countries and other tax havens that offer tax free gains with a much better track record of trustworthiness.


Like who? Can you provide tax rates and track record, please?


Nothing an afternoon of Googling can't tell you. Too much work to list them all. Current and previous British crown dependencies (also the UK) are generally good.

Unless you're an American. You'll probably be out of luck then.


Yes, a lot of companys stopped do business with Americans. They are all afraid about the crazy US law system. Special in the last recent years, when the US government likes to see everybodys underwear, if you do business with US customers.


Belarus is finishing its first nuclear power station and wants to use the surplus capacity. Initially, they planned to sell it to Baltic countries, but these are in the EU, so it is not yet sure they will cut a deal. EU has a huge anti-nuclear, pro-carbon lobby.


Yeah, Lithuania making big deal out of this nuclear station. They aren't happy that it's based close to the border and they trying to say that it's not safe, blah-blah-blah, nobody will buy electricity and so on. Other countries don't have issues with this station though, EU checked it and found everything within norms. But every time something happens at the construction, like they pour concrete at the wrong spot, Lithuania blows the whistle. Lukashenka said that it will be build no matter what, and neighbors will have to deal with it.


Lithuania had its own Nuclear Power plant (Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant) which it closed in order to join the EU. At first, it was promising to its people that the EU will help it to build another one ("safer"), but of course nothing happened. And with the new Belorussian Nuclear Power Plant, there is no good business case for it anymore.


Further to this, one of the main concerns for Lithuania (and other Baltic states) is energy independence from Russia. Ignalina made them a net-exporter of electricity, but now almost 70% of electricity is imported, mostly from Sweden. Gas and oil mostly comes from Russia, and all national gas companies in the Baltic states are largely owned by Russian companies.

As you say there is no reason for another plant to be built in the area now, but it'll also mean the Baltic states most likely end up purchasing electricity from Belarus. As they have strong political ties with Russia, that doesn't really help their case in becoming more independent.


The same case is for Belarus. Building this station is part of becoming energy independent from buying Russian gas. Lukashenko will build it even if it's non-profitable and Lithuania won't buy energy from it. He's stubborn SOB when it comes to independence.


But it is big deal. In worst case scenario, most of Lithuania's land would be no-go zone. Violating Espoo and Aarhus Conventions, lying and covering up accidents, while normal practice in Russia & co countries, it is not in EU. Could you please provide source for "EU checked it and found everything within norms"?


The construction spot complies with all MAGATE standards:

http://www.belta.by/economics/view/ostrovetskaja-ploschadka-...

MAGATE SEED mission external risks report is overall positive:

https://news.tut.by/economics/546471.html http://minenergo.gov.by/wp-content/uploads/Report-SEED-missi...

Here's interview with vice-minister of energetic where he answers a lot of questions and concerns of Lithuania: There's 7 more MAGATE SEED missions planned to visit the station and security tests are going according to the plan.

https://news.tut.by/politics/486906.html

Here's info that crush-tests were made and results provided to EU commission and everyone who wants to know.

https://news.tut.by/society/567848.html

What I see is that Lithuania takes totally nonconstructive position. They concerned about security of the station, but at the same time want to pull off the scientists from EU commission that will be working on implementing EU security standards on station.

https://news.tut.by/economics/562015.html

Reality is this station will be build, because Belarus needs it for energetic security to diversify it's energy consumption from dependency russian gas. Belarusians are the first who interested in high security standards. But Lithuania wants Belarus to stop building it, it's ultimatum and it's not going to work. It's not to late to find compromise decision and Belarus is open for dialog and Lithuania tries to take unfriendly steps like twist the facts and mix up the question about station with the other things. Even swedish deputy said you guys shouldn't bring Europe to two-sided conflict:

https://news.tut.by/economics/550112.html


None of your sources are independent. You can't quote a Belarusian source on a dispute between Belarus and a foreign country.


He didn't ask for independent sources, he asked for any source. Also if you've studied them carefully, not just trolled, you could see the document in English created by EU commission that is part of info he's looking for.

I'm actually open to see any documents saying that station violates EU standards from the other side if they exist.


Nuclear powered ASICs and GPUs without intermediaries, that would be a thing!


More like the EU has a huge anti-Belarus lobby (and for very good reasons). The Baltic countries mostly have their own nuclear plants, with no plans to close them; not that much anti-nuclear sentiment.


Dude, you are lying. Lithuania closed its last nuclear reactor, which had been generating 70% of its electricity, at the end of 2009, due to EU pressure. Latvia and Estonia never had one.


Lithuania's one was two elderly Chernobyl-style reactors which were already past their design life; shutting them was fairly reasonable. I thought Estonia had a couple, but apparently not.


At such odds with the standard HN complaints about people not paying their “fair share” of taxes.


you got it


JFYI, in Belarus we are not "White Russians", but we historical Lithuania. Please not blame us with moscowitians. We are not so wild. http://history-belarus.by/images/img-events/blood_potop/hmel...


Many of the bold claims in this document are completely unsubstantiated.

Question 7: How does the Law regulate Blockchain and cryptocurrencies? It can't. The principle argument that deals will be safe because the HTP residents are 'trusted and respectable companies' is naive and invalidates the fundamentally trustless model of blockchains.

Question 8: How is the mining activity of individuals regulated? Won't they launder funds through Belarus? Money laundering happens every day with fiat currency, and with cryptocurrencies this is even easier. Exchanging currencies across both blockchains and boarders introduces innumerable difficulties for detection of money laundering.


The more blockchain regulation I see, the more I have to question the technical competence of regulators or the actual policy and implementation goals they have in mind.

Do they have technologists telling them, “yes we can track this.” Or do they not actually care about what they claim to, eg: money laundering...?


There's some interesting chances here for governments.

In the 80's, Luxembourg introduced some progressive tax-incentives for space companies. The inflow of business related to space (mainly satellite parts and software suppliers) has had and enormous impact on the economy of Luxembourg.

I think there's chances in the Crypto/blockchain space for small economies as well.


Certainly! Estonia has taken a very progressive stance on cryptocurrency and tech development as a whole and it's great to see other countries do the same! I was at a blockchain conference last weekend in Minsk and nearly every speaker ended their presentation with an open call for developers to apply for their projects.

Politics and underlying motivations aside, it gives a lot of people work opportunities as the field continues to grow.


In 2016, Luxembourg became the first country of the EU to deliver a state licence to a cryptocurrency exchange. Luxembourg has regulated Blockchain tech since years, we have quite a few blockchain based startups running under a license issued by the regulator.

Example: https://blog.crypto.tickets/crypto-tickets-sent-the-descript...


"I am the last dictator in Europe" Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko


"Better to be a dictator than gay" Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF5kIvbQPNo


"No you're not." Recep Tayyip Erdoğan


Strictly speaking, he said it in 2012, back when Erdoğan was just a dodgy Prime Minister. Of course, Putin was still around... What he meant was that he was the only dictator in Europe who was making no efforts to hide it; Russia and Turkey still have at least the pretence of free elections.


Geographically, Turkey is not Europe, right?


Mostly not:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Thrace

Then again, what is Europe, geographically? If I count continents, I count something often call "eurasia" as one continent, not two. I think cutting it in two over some mountain rig is a bit, well, arbitrary.


In 2015, the "European" Games were held in Baku, Azerbaijan. Another dodgy president (Ilham Aliyev), if you count Azerbaijan as Europe.


As stated I do not see a "geographical europe" on the map. I see eurasia. And being "european" definitely has nothing to do with having clean politicians.


Russians are always caught in the middle. Not quiete European, and they don't want to be, but not quite Asian.

Always a clash of values there.


Cool country. Is the 11 year old president son still wearing a general uniform?

Come on. This regulation movement is made only to have bigger control over the people. Nothing more.


Ding, ding ding. We have a winner!

I think people in the West who do not have to experience having one guy as "president" for 20+ years are either naive or ignorant of how these autocrats or kleptocrats operate.

---

Fun fact: Belarus still has the KGB and a lot of Soviet era imagery on emblems and such.


It's sad fact :(


So Belarus becomes tax heaven for crypto-currencies, but is it safe heaven? One can transfer money out of Belarus but then one's country tax collector will knock the door. And what if one day Mr Alexander decides to nationalize these companies including foreign currency assets?


Nothing is safe. A fact, that validity period of HTP's special legal status will be extended until Jan 2049, give us some level of confidence. It won't be that easy to turn around.


But it would be better the government be driven by long-term and wider improvements like overall business law stabilization. This case is narrow short-term opportunity. Anyway I wish you guys good luck!


I agree, but they're making quite good steps now. This document also declares: `Investment according to English Law will be allowed.` The process takes time but Belarus slowly removes borders and getting better. From 2017, residents of 80+ countries (including entire EU and US) were allowed to enter Belarus without a visa for 5 days (subject to be extended even further)


No investor in their mind would believe this. Belarus needs structural reforms first.


Actually, there will be risk takers on top of existing ones.

Belarus is the source of great engineers that created Viber, Juno, MSQRD, WoT to name a few. PVT revenues will reach $1 bln. in 2017. This decree just added more perks to already existing tax privileges.

The system is stable and growing, why kill the cash-cow? IT enterprise is not and oil factory that you can nationalize. Engineers will take the laptop and fly away same day and your seized company will turn into empty building with zero profit. Even dictators understand it.


2049, not 2019.


In the last pages, it seems he wants to upset his Russian and Ukrainian neighbors. Even there are a graph how the US investments fell.


If you need help in Belarus or have questions – ping me in telegram/facebook: koskeller


Viva Dictator!




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