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The Belarusian Foreign Ministry is working on legal amendments to ban peer-to-peer or P2P transactions in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC).
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the Republic of Belarus on July 2 published an official message on Telegram about new legislation prohibiting the exchange of P2P cryptocurrencies for individuals.
The authorities cited the high level of cybercrime in Belarus, saying that since the beginning of the year, local prosecutors have stopped the activities of 27 citizens providing “illegal cryptocurrency exchange services.” Their combined illegal proceeds amounted to almost 22 million Belarusian rubles ($8.7 million).
The Foreign Ministry argued that cryptocurrency P2P services are “in demand among scammers who cash out and convert stolen funds and transfer money to organizers or participants in criminal schemes.”
To eliminate such illegal activity, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will prohibit individuals from participating in P2P and will only allow them to exchange cryptocurrencies through exchanges registered in the Belarusian High Technology Park (HTP). The regulator stated:
“The Foreign Ministry is working on legislative innovations prohibiting cryptocurrency exchange operations between individuals. For transparency and control, citizens will be allowed to conduct such financial transactions only through the HTP exchanges.”
The department also noted that they plan to introduce a practice similar to the procedure for exchanging foreign currency, which will make it “impossible to withdraw money received from illegal activities.”
“Under such conditions, it will simply be unprofitable for fraudsters in the field of information technology to operate in Belarus,” the Foreign Ministry wrote.
In response to the news from Belarus, many cryptocurrency enthusiasts questioned the government’s ability to ban P2P cryptocurrency trading. “Good luck enforcing it,” said one cryptocurrency observer on Twitter.
On the subject: Cryptocurrency ban ‘may not be effective in the long run’ – IMF
P2P exchange is the original idea behind Bitcoin, as written by anonymous BTC creator Satoshi Nakamoto in his white paper. According to Bitcoin proponents such as Jan3 CEO Samson Moe, banning P2P appears to be no easy task, if not impossible. In June, the chief executive told Cointelegraph that many users in China are still using P2P channels to exchange their crypto despite the country banning all crypto transactions for users in 2021.
The latest news from Belarus somewhat contradicts the legislation that Belarus has adopted in recent years. In 2022, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree confirming the country’s official support for the free circulation of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.