To enter Hi-Tech Park, blockchain companies need nothing special: lawyer Elena Murashko
Belarus is interested in crypto companies not only from Europe and the USA, but also from China, South Korea, and other states. This trend is encouraged by the regulation adopted as part of the Decree No. 8. This issue is revealed by Elena Murashko, a Partner at REVERA and the Head of Corporate Practice, in an interview with Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Belarus. We talked to Elena about the interest of foreign crypto businesses in Belarus, real changes after the adoption of the Decree No. 8, and the residence procedure in the Hi-Tech Park (HTP).
Interviewer: Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Belarus (BCB).
Respondent: Elena Murashko (EM).
BCB: In 2017, Belarus set mind on becoming “a new Switzerland” for the crypto industry. In your opinion, did it succeed? Is there the explosion of foreign business interest in Belarus now?
EM: Indeed, there is the explosion of interest, and the Decree No. 8 is due in no small part to this. Earlier, investors were interested in Belarus as one of the possible jurisdictions with a pretty good quality-price ratio. Currently, due to the enhanced attractiveness of Hi-Tech Park operations, it is included in the top list of countries with the most beneficial climate for the IT sector.
Remarkably, not only Europeans and Americans got interested in the Hi-Tech Park, as it was before. Now, residents from new jurisdictions are also coming here: South Korea, China, and others. Many of them are ready to support Belarusian businesspeople by providing convertible loans and establishing joint companies. Others are introducing new projects previously unknown to the Belarusian market.
BCB: Tell us about the residence procedure in the Hi-Tech Park, which is required to register business in Belarus. How does it go? Do blockchain companies face specific difficulties with it?
EM: All teams desiring to work with the HTP should realize that the Hi-Tech Park is not a closed group that accepts only the chosen ones. It is open to IT companies that are ready to establish a real and efficient business in Belarus.
The procedure for entering the HTP has not changed: as previously, one should set up a company, build a team, describe an expected model in the business project, and send documents to the Park’s administration.
There is no special entry requirements for companies engaged in blockchain solutions. Blockchain as a technology has been already used as part of closing the full cycle of development. There are some special aspects for crypto projects: the regulation is yet under development, but it is known that such projects may have to pass an audit, including due diligence.
BCB: Six months ago, Belarus treated the Decree No. 8 optimistically. Has the situation changed? Did any pitfalls or ambiguous points of this law appear? Is it applied properly?
EM: Yes, many things have changed. In practice, one starts applying procedures borrowed from the English law and forms experience in concluding anti-poaching agreements. Migration benefits and accounting maintenance loosening up are being rapidly adopted; it is quite convenient while working with foreign partners.
are caused by the absence of practice in certain issues, including legal precedents. Some challenges appear because the infrastructure is not yet adapted to the automatic or compulsory execution of certain mechanisms (for example, options, drag-along etc.).
BCB: At the first stages of the Decree No. 8, there were concerns that the flow of cryptocurrency businesses in Belarus would be limited. Did it happen?
EM: The entry of companies with crypto projects is now suspended (until the detailed regulation is adopted), but the authorities are not going to stop the flow of cryptocurrency businesses. It is expected that the rules for HTP residents will be completed and approved in the nearest time.
BCB: Please describe the current condition of blockchain businesses in Belarus. Did the number of miners, ICO campaigns, and cryptocurrency exchanges grow? Is there any statistics?
EM: Currently, only mining farms are operating in the High-Tech Park; crypto exchanges are not registered in Belarus. At the same time, there are investors with real, efficient projects who are ready to establish their own crypto exchanges as soon as they get the green light.
BCB: REVERA is involved in the IT Legal FAQ project. What are the most frequent questions addressed by IT businesses to lawyers?
EM: Earlier, we primarily answered the questions regarding the establishment of a company and registration of an individual entrepreneur. Tax and platform operation questions were especially relevant. As of today, they are interested in investments, new institutions in the Decree No. 8, agreements, and partner relationship.
Besides, we are working on the systematization of our issued materials. We have also launched a new project called IT SCHOOL, a platform that will help to set up IT business in a proper way and to structure the existing one.
BCB: At Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Belarus, you will participate in the discussion about the regulation of the Belarusian crypto market. Tell us in brief what you are going to focus on.
EM: I would like to focus on new risks and challenges to be faced by the legal system during the crypto market development. Moreover, it will be interesting to discuss with the colleagues a degree of balance between state interference in the regulation crypto entities (requirements for risk management, KYC procedures, and experienced investors) and necessary freedom in order not to kill the attractiveness of the established regime.
On October 10, Elena Murashko will be engaged in the panel discussion dedicated to the regulation of the blockchain industry in Belarus at Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Belarus.