Belarus is looking to enforce a ban on P2P cryptocurrency transactions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the Republic of Belarus issued an official announcement on July 2nd, stating that they are working on legal amendments to prohibit peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTCUSD).

The MFA highlighted the high cybercrime rate in Belarus and mentioned that local prosecutors have already taken action against 27 individuals involved in providing “illegal crypto exchange services” since the beginning of the year. These individuals were found to have illegally earned approximately 22 million Belarusian rubles ($8.7 million).

The ministry further explained that crypto P2P services are commonly used by fraudsters to cash out and convert stolen funds, as well as transfer money to organizers or participants involved in criminal schemes.

To combat such illicit activities, the MFA intends to prohibit individuals from engaging in P2P crypto exchange. Instead, individuals will be required to exchange cryptocurrencies through registered exchanges under the Belarus Hi-Tech Park (HTP). The regulatory authority emphasized its commitment to preventing illegal activities by stating the following:

The MFA is currently developing legislative measures aimed at prohibiting individual-to-individual crypto exchange transactions. In order to ensure transparency and regulatory oversight, citizens will only be permitted to engage in such financial transactions through authorized exchanges within the HTP.”
The authority further stated its intention to adopt a procedure akin to the exchange of foreign currencies, with the aim of rendering it “impossible to withdraw money derived from illegal activities.

 

“With such measures in place, it will become financially unviable for information technology fraudsters to operate within Belarus,” emphasized the MFA.

 

Upon learning of Belarus’ plans, numerous cryptocurrency enthusiasts have expressed skepticism regarding the government’s ability to effectively ban P2P cryptocurrency trading. “Good luck enforcing it,” remarked one crypto observer on Twitter.

P2P exchange is a fundamental aspect of Bitcoin, as outlined by the anonymous BTC creator Satoshi Nakamoto in the cryptocurrency’s white paper. According to advocates of Bitcoin, such as Jan3 CEO Samson Mow, banning P2P transactions is an arduous task, if not entirely impracticable. Mow revealed to Cointelegraph in June that despite China’s ban on all cryptocurrency transactions for its users in 2021, many individuals in the country still resort to P2P channels for exchanging their crypto.

The recent developments in Belarus seem to go against the country’s previous legislative direction. Despite President Alexander Lukashenko’s 2022 decree endorsing the unrestricted circulation of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, there have been significant shifts in the country’s position.

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