Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has signed a decree affirming the country’s formal support of free circulation of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC). Lukashenko’s press office announced Monday that the president has signed a decree “On the register of virtual wallet addresses and the circulation of cryptocurrency.”
The document provides a legal basis for Belarus Hi-Tech Park to establish and manage a register of crypto wallet addresses used in illegal activities. The decree document specifically details the process and standards for seizing cryptocurrency from criminals by the government.
The decree intends to protect crypto investors from potential losses and to “prevent unintentional involvement in activities prohibited by law.” The announcement points out that Belarus has taken a friendly stance on cryptocurrencies:
“Belarus is consistently developing the legal field for regulating activities related to digital assets, and, unlike many other states, allows free circulation of digital currencies.”
According to the document, Belarus’ Council of Ministers is required to adopt appropriate measures to enforce the decree in three months following its publication.
Lukashenko’s latest move in the Belarusian crypto regulation ecosystem reaffirms the country’s commitment to supporting cryptocurrency development, including crypto mining and trading. In September 2021, Lukashenko called on the government to mine crypto using spare power infrastructure. Previously, Belarus’ largest financial institution, Belarusbank, reportedly launched a crypto exchange service.
While Belarus has apparently been moving towards cryptocurrency adoption, some of its key economic and political partners were falling behind on crypto regulation.
While the Russian government continues to work out a regulatory regime for digital assets, a federal ministry has made another proposal regarding the crypto mining industry.
Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development has greenlighted the concept of crypto mining regulation in the country, proposing to allow mining operations in areas with “sustainable surplus in electricity generation,” local news agency Izvestia reported Tuesday.
As part of the proposal, the ministry suggested introducing lower fees for setting up mining farms and data centers in specific Russian regions as well as offering reduced energy rates for such facilities.
The ministry also wants to establish a power use limit for mining by individuals, reportedly proposing to introduce higher energy rates for increased energy spending. The authority is yet to determine a threshold amount for this, the report notes.
According to the ministry, the newly proposed rules would remove the risks of insufficient power supply for housing, social facilities and infrastructure in other regions of the country.
Additionally, the ministry reportedly proposed recognizing crypto mining as a commercial activity and introducing taxes on realized profits from cryptocurrency mining.
The husband-wife duo accused in the infamous $3.6 billion Bitcoin (BTC) money laundering case had quite a contrasting valentine. A federal judge upheld the decision of a suspended release for wife Heather Morgan while husband Ilya Lichtenstein has been sent to pre-trial detention.
Beryl A. Howell, the chief judge at the Federal District Court in Columbia, ruled that Lichtenstein has the motivation and resources to flee and thus must be kept under detention. While Morgan managed to fulfill the criteria for a suspended release on a bond of $3 million.
The lawyer representing the couple denied any motivation for fleeing and argued that despite being under investigation from last year, the couple had no plans of leaving the country, citing their family ties and future plans, reported NYT.
The prime accused in the case are suspected of laundering 94,000 BTC out of 119,754 BTC stolen from the Bitfinex crypto exchange in 2016, estimated to be worth over $5.1 billion in today’s value. The early investigation found no connection between the duo and the theft of the funds back in 2016. However, they were found to be actively involved in laundering the money using a sophisticated network of accounts.
The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) confiscated 94,000 BTC associated with the hack in possession of Lichtenstein, making it the biggest crypto seizure in the agency’s history. The DoJ first traced back 25,000 BTC from the Bitifinex hack to the financial accounts controlled by the couple and later recovered a total of $3.6 billion worth of BTC in their possession.
The largest Bitcoin hack has already become a trending topic in the social circles and Netflix, the online streaming giant has already announced a new documentary series covering the theft and money laundering by the couple.
This Daily Dose was brought to you by Cointelegraph.