Reports suggest that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belarus is considering banning peer-to-peer transactions involving assets like Bitcoin among its citizens. The recent development comes amid rising crypto-related crimes among its residents, and these incidents have increased since the start of the year.
An End To P2P Trading
In a recent update, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced via a popular messaging app that the new legislation seeks to prohibit peer-to-peer crypto exchanges for individuals. The decision comes as a response to the rising cybercrime spike recorded in the country’s crypto space.
According to official reports, local prosecutors have successfully halted the operations of 27 individuals engaged in providing “illicit crypto exchange services” early this year. According to the report, the cumulative earnings from their illegal activities is approximately 22 million Belarusian rubles, equivalent to around $8.7 million.
Furthermore, the ministry highlighted the unfortunate reality that peer-to-peer cryptocurrency services had become the go-to tool for fraudsters seeking to launder stolen assets. Also, criminal networks use these services to facilitate the transfer of funds among themselves.
Consequently, the ministry will implement stringent measures to combat these illegal activities. Belarusian residents will no longer be permitted to engage in P2P cryptocurrency exchanges.
Instead, they will be directed to utilize registered platforms affiliated with the Belarus Hi-Tech Park (HTP) as the authorized platforms for cryptocurrency transactions. With this strategic move, the Belarusian authorities aim to create a safer and more regulated environment for crypto exchange.
Interestingly, the Belarusian government intends to implement a similar process in fiat currency exchange. Its goal is to make withdrawing proceeds from illicit financial dealings impossible.
Following the developments, several crypto community members are skeptical of the government’s capability to enforce the ban on P2P cryptocurrency trading effectively. A vocal digital asset enthusiast tweeted, “Best of luck trying to enforce that.”
The Twitter user’s remark reflects the concerns many individuals in the crypto space have about the efficacy of implementing and enforcing such prohibitions.
The Rise Of P2P Exchange
The concept of P2P exchange was initially introduced by Bitcoin’s anonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, in the project’s white paper. This fundamental aspect of the crypto asset has garnered support from prominent Bitcoin advocates, like Samson Mow, the CEO of Jan3.
Mow and other supporters argue that banning P2P exchanges is incredibly challenging, if not impossible. In an interview last month, the executive highlighted the persistence of P2P channels in China.
According to him, many individuals have continued to utilize P2P platforms to exchange their digital assets despite a ban on all crypto activities for Chinese residents since 2021. The CEO’s remarks further emphasize the strong demand for P2P exchange and governments’ difficulty subduing this innovative idea.
However, the recent developments in Belarus contradict its legislative actions toward crypto adoption in recent years. Last year, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus approved a law that explicitly confirmed the nation’s official endorsement of crypto-related activities, including popular ones like Bitcoin.
Many industry players regarded the President’s move as a significant step towards embracing crypto and its benefits. Hence, there is a favorable environment for their use cases within the country.