The President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, signed an official order on December 21 legalizing cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings. The changes will take effect on March 28, 2018.

The decree will make it legal for entrepreneurs and legal institutions who reside in HTP (High Technologies Park), the Belarusian equivalent of Silicon Valley, to mine, store, and exchange cryptocurrency. Not only will these operations be legal, they will also be tax exempt until 2023. HTP is an economic zone within Belarus situated near Minsk that has special tax and legal status.

HTP houses 192 different international companies that specialize in software development and IT services. HTP draws highly qualified experts who have been extensively trained in science, mathematics, and engineering, Some of this training has come at the hands of titans of the industry, such as Microsoft, SAP, and IBM. This has helped Belarus become a competitive technological hub overseas.

The decree will also make Belarus the first nation to legalize smart contracts at the state-level, a move that should further bolster its economy and strengthen Minsk’s position as a financial center for Eastern Europe. With leaders in South Korea, China, and Russia recently hinting at plans to increase regulations, Belarus positions itself as an ideal location for foreign investors to set up operations.

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