- Ministry claims that P2P crypto services have become a preferred avenue for fraudsters to convert stolen funds.
- The Government plans to implement a practice that would make it “impossible to withdraw money obtained from illegal activity”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belarus has announced its intention to introduce new legislation that would ban peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions involving cryptocurrencies. The decision comes as a response to the high cyber crime rate in the country, with local prosecutors recently cracking down on individuals providing “illegal crypto exchange services.”
P2P refers to a decentralized network architecture where participants can interact and exchange data or resources directly with each other without the need for intermediaries or central authorities.
Since the beginning of 2023, Belarusian authorities have reportedly suppressed the activities of 27 citizens involved in the provision of illicit P2P crypto exchange services. These individuals are said to have generated a staggering 22 million Belarusian rubles ($8.7 million) in illegal revenues. The ministry argues that P2P crypto services have become a preferred avenue for fraudsters to cash out and convert stolen funds, facilitating the transfer of money to organizers or participants in criminal schemes.
In order to combat such illicit activities effectively, the ministry plans to prohibit individuals from engaging in P2P crypto exchange transactions. Instead, citizens will only be allowed to conduct such transactions through exchanges registered with Belarus Hi-Tech Park (HTP), a regulatory body. This move aims to enhance transparency and control over cryptocurrency transactions in the country.
“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,” stated the ministry in an official announcement on Telegram.
Furthermore, the ministry expressed its intention to implement a practice that would make it “impossible to withdraw money obtained from illegal activity,” following a process similar to exchanging foreign currencies. This measure is expected to further deter criminals from using cryptocurrencies for illicit purposes.
Interestingly, earlier this year, the Belarusian Government had extended tax exemptions for businesses operating in the crypto sector. These exemptions are set to remain in place until January 2025, indicating the Government’s overall support for legitimate cryptocurrency-related activities while simultaneously cracking down on illegal practices.