Belarus wants to ban P2P cryptocurrency transactions

Belarus Introduces Legal Changes to Ban Peer-to-Peer Crypto Transactions

The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in the process of introducing legal changes that will forbid peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions involving cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC).

On July 2nd, the ministry released a formal declaration via Telegram concerning new legislation prohibiting peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading for individuals.

The authorities in Belarus reported a high rate of cybercrime, revealing that since January 2023, 27 citizens providing “illegal crypto exchange services” have been held accountable by local prosecutors. The total illegal profits from this activity were estimated to be around 22 million Belarusian rubles ($8.7 million).

The ministry asserted that crypto P2P services are popular among criminals who use them to launder stolen money and transfer funds to those involved in illegal activities.

The Ministry is taking steps to prevent illegal activity by prohibiting individuals from engaging in peer-to-peer (P2P) crypto exchanges and allowing them to only exchange crypto through exchanges registered with Belarus Hi-Tech Park (HTP). The regulator declared:

The authority stated that they intend to put into place a process akin to that used for exchanging foreign currencies, making it “impossible to take out money acquired through unlawful acts.”

The ministry stated that, under these circumstances, it will no longer be profitable for those who commit information technology fraud to do business in Belarus.

Impact of Belarus’ Ban on P2P Crypto Transactions

In response to the news from Belarus, many cryptocurrency devotees have questioned the government’s capacity to prohibit P2P cryptocurrency transactions. One crypto enthusiast remarked on Twitter, “Good luck enforcing it.”

Banning cryptocurrency may not be a viable solution in the long term, according to the International Monetary Fund.

P2P exchange is the basis of Bitcoin, as articulated in the white paper by its anonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto. Jan3 CEO Samson Mow, a Bitcoin supporter, has commented that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to completely forbid P2P exchanges. He informed Cointelegraph in June that many people in China are still utilizing P2P channels to trade digital currencies, despite the Chinese government prohibiting all crypto transactions in 2021.

In spite of the legislation that Belarus has adopted in recent years, the most recent news from the country is somewhat contradictory. In 2022, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus signed a decree expressing the nation’s official backing for the unrestricted use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

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