The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus has pointed out that the country has a high rate of cryptocurrency crime due to a ban on all citizens from exchanging bitcoins with each other.
On July 2, the ministry issued an official announcement via Telegram on a new law banning private P2P crypto exchanges.
The agency announced that local prosecutors have been cracking down on the activities of 27 citizens who provide “illegal cryptocurrency exchange services” since January 2023, citing high cybercrime rates in Belarus. . Their total illicit earnings amounted to approximately 22 million Belarusian rubles (approximately $8.7 million).
The ministry argued that crypto P2P services are “in demand by fraudsters who pay for stolen funds and cash them in, or transfer funds to organizers and participants of criminal activities.”
To prevent such illegal activities, the ministry will ban personal P2P and allow cryptocurrency exchanges only through exchanges registered in the Belarus High-Tech Park (HTP). The regulator said:
“The MFA is working on legislative innovations that prohibit crypto exchange transactions between individuals. For transparency and control, citizens will be allowed to conduct such financial transactions only through the HTP exchanges.”
The agency also said it plans to introduce practices similar to currency exchange procedures that “make it impossible to withdraw funds from illegal activities.”
“In such a situation, it would be a total disadvantage for information technology crooks to operate in Belarus,” the ministry wrote.
Following the news from Belarus, many cryptocurrency enthusiasts are questioning the government’s ability to ban P2P cryptocurrency trading. “Good luck with execution,” said one crypto watcher on Twitter.
As anonymous BTC inventor Satoshi Nakamoto writes in his white paper, P2P exchanges are the inventors of Bitcoin. According to Bitcoin proponents like Jan3 CEO Samson Mow, banning P2P is not an easy task, if not impossible. The executive told Cointelegraph in June that even though China banned all cryptocurrency transactions for users in 2021, many users still use P2P channels to exchange cryptocurrencies. Told.
The latest news from Belarus somewhat contradicts legislation Belarus has passed in recent years. In 2022, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree reaffirming the country’s formal support for the free circulation of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.