The Republic of Belarus' Ministry of Foreign Affairs cited a high crypto crime rate as the reason for prohibiting all citizens from exchanging Bitcoin with one another.
The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working on legislation to prohibit peer-to-peer (P2P) cryptocurrency transactions such as Bitcoin BTC.
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On July 2, the ministry issued an official announcement on Telegram about new legislation that would prohibit individuals from using P2P crypto exchange.
Belarus has a high cybercrime rate, according to the authority, and local prosecutors have suppressed the activity of 27 citizens providing "illegal crypto exchange services" since January 2023. Their illegal earnings totaled nearly 22 million Belarusian rubles ($8.7 million).
According to the ministry, cryptocurrency P2P services are "in high demand among fraudsters who cash out and convert stolen funds and transfer money to organizers or participants in criminal schemes."
To stop such illegal activity, the ministry will forbid P2P and only permit cryptocurrency exchanges that are registered with Belarus Hi-Tech Park (HTP). According to the regulator
The authority also stated that it intends to implement a practice that will make it "impossible to withdraw money obtained from illegal activity," similar to the process for exchanging foreign currencies.
The government claims that "under such circumstances, operating as an information technology fraudster in Belarus will simply become unprofitable."
Numerous cryptocurrency enthusiasts have questioned the government's capacity to outlaw peer-to-peer trading in light of the news out of Belarus. One crypto observer tweeted, "Good luck trying to enforce it."
The original concept behind Bitcoin, as stated in its white paper by its mysterious creator Satoshi Nakamoto, is peer-to-peer exchange. The CEO of Jan3 Samson Mow, a proponent of Bitcoin, claims that outlawing P2P is difficult, if not impossible. The executive revealed to Cointelegraph in June that despite China's 2021 ban on all user-to-user cryptocurrency transactions, many Chinese users continue to exchange their cryptocurrency through P2P channels.
The most recent news out of Belarus runs somewhat afoul of recent laws Belarus has passed. President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus issued a decree in 2022 formally endorsing the free flow of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.