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First Online Cryptocurrency Exchange Launched In Belarus

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka (right) meets with tech entrepreneur Viktar Prakapenya in Minsk in April 2017.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka (right) meets with tech entrepreneur Viktar Prakapenya in Minsk in April 2017.

The first online cryptocurrency exchange -- based on blockchain technology -- has been launched in Belarus.

Media reports in Belarus said on January 15 that what they called the "world's first regulated tokenized securities exchange" at was financially supported by London-based Belarusian entrepreneur Viktar Prakapenya and Russian businessman Said Gutseriyev.

The online service would allow users to exchange different types of cryptocurrencies as well to sell and buy them for national currencies.

Tokenization -- the process of substituting a sensitive data element with a nonsensitive equivalent, referred to as a token -- may be used to safeguard sensitive data such as bank accounts or financial statements.

A blockchain is a digital ledger where transactions made in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly. Blockchain technology makes online transactions faster and more secure as well as anonymous.

The project is launched more than a year after Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka legalized transactions in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Lukashenka signed the decree on December 22, 2017. He said at the time that the move was aimed at attracting foreign investors and turn Belarus into a regional center for blockchain technology.

Lukashenka said Minsk wanted to create conditions to encourage global IT firms to set up branches, research centers, and production facilities inside Belarus.

The decree makes initial coin offerings and transactions in crypto-currencies legal and all such trades will not be taxed until January 1, 2023.

The IT industry is one of the few booming sectors of the Belarusian economy.

The High-Tech Park was created in Minsk in 2006 to spur growth in the IT industry.

Based on reporting by,, and AP

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