Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree on Friday, December 22, that made the use of digital currencies in the country lawful, among other provisions.
The revolutionary decree is designed to boost the country’s IT sector, attract foreign investments and turn Belarus into an international tech haven.
Here is a list of some key benefits of the new law:
1. Foreign talent attraction
While the global competition for qualified IT professionals is blooming, Belarus offers a number of perks to win over professionals from all around the world.
- Employees of the HTP resident-companies will not be obliged to obtain work permits
- The HTP resident-companies will not be obliged to obtain work permits for foreign employees
- Visa-free entry for IT specialists will be up to 180 days per year
2. Tax exemptions
Till 2049, the resident companies of Belarus Hi-Tech Park are exempt from paying: VAT, profit tax (corporate tax) and other taxes.
The HTP resident-companies pay only 1% of the revenue.
3. Expansion of activities
The HTP resident-companies can get involved into additional qualifying business activities.
- design, development, maintenance, implementation, operation of software and / or firmware projects on the basis of or using the blockсhain;
- activities related to cyber sports, including training of cybersport teams, organization and running of competitions, and their broadcasts;
- activities related to artificial intelligence, and the creation of unmanned vehicle control systems;
- activities related to crypto-currencies and digital tokens;
- activities related to medical technologies and biotech, aviation and space technologies;
Among other benefits are possibility to open bank accounts abroad without restriction and development of IT product model in the HTP.
Q: Is Belarus cheap for IT outsourcing?
A: In general salaries are significantly lower than in the US, for instance, but keep in mind that 90% of the local industry is involved into global IT projects.
The best professionals are often employed by the US or EU companies either directly or indirectly.
Q: Is Belarus the first country to allow this?
A: Belarus is the first country to implement overall regulation of digital tokens, cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, initial coin offerings, activities of cryptocurrency exchanges, smart contracts and related issues.
Other countries have introduced just some of them, for example exchanges or cryptocurrencies.
Q: How to get into High Tech Park and be eligible for the regulations?
A: Currently there are 192 residents in the Park – from the first resident, EPAM (NYSE:EPAM) with its 7000 employees in Belarus, to small startups.
Every month or two a new batch of applicants become residents. Applicants should provide legal documents and a business plan, so the proceed via something like standard KYC procedure.
The new law is expected to turn Belarus in one of the most comfortable jurisdictions in the world for IT business, cryptocurrencies and blockchain.