Belarus may want to ban P2P crypto transactions

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus is drafting legislative amendments that will ban the use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) for peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions.

Announcement via Telegram

It is striking that this ministry has made an official announcement via Telegram. According to the authorities, there is a significant level of cybercrime in Belarus.

They have indicated that since the beginning of this year, local prosecutors have cracked down on the activities of 27 citizens involved in providing “illegal crypto exchange services”. The total illegal income of these individuals amounted to almost 22 million Belarusian rubles, which is equivalent to about $8.7 million.

The State Department states that peer-to-peer (P2P) crypto services are “in demand among fraudsters looking to convert and transfer stolen funds to organizers or participants of criminal activity.”

To combat such illicit activities, the Ministry has decided to ban individuals from using P2P services and instead only allow cryptocurrency exchanges through exchanges registered with the Belarus Hi-Tech Park (HTP). The controller stated:

The MFA is working on legislative innovations that will ban crypto exchange transactions between individuals. For transparency and control, citizens are only allowed to conduct such financial transactions through the HTP exchanges.

Similar procedure for foreign currency exchange

The authority has also announced that they intend to implement a procedure similar to foreign currency exchange, which will make it “impossible to withdraw funds originating from illegal activities”.

“Under these circumstances, it becomes simply unprofitable for information technology fraudsters to operate in Belarus,” the foreign ministry statement said.

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Following the news from Belarus, many cryptocurrency enthusiasts have expressed doubts about the government’s ability to ban P2P cryptocurrency trading. A crypto observer took to Twitter to voice his reservations and wish authorities “good luck with enforcement.”

Prohibiting P2P transactions may be impossible

Bitcoin’s original idea, as described by anonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto in the whitepaper, involved peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange. Bitcoin proponents like Samson Mow, CEO of Jan3, doubt that banning P2P is easy, if not impossible. Mow recently said 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.

Recent news from Belarus appears to be somewhat at odds with the legislation the country has passed in recent years. In 2022, the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree reaffirming the country’s official support for the free trade of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

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