Smaller Countries Are Bracing up for Big Impact Via Cryptocurrencies


Smaller economies are more open to blockchain technology and digital currencies. A striking example amongst such pioneers is Belarus. In March 2017, the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko met Viktor Prokopenya, an entrepreneur who discussed the digital currency sector for three hours. Two years later, the country has rules for the emerging technology in place, which were designed after thorough consultation with lawyers and IT firms.

Big Ambitions Take Hold

Prokopenya, who now runs a digital currency exchange, spoke to Reuters recently and said, “The idea was to create everything from scratch. To make sure that it is free in some of the aspects it needs to be free, and very stringent in other aspects.”

Belarus is not the only country which witnessed swift regulations for cryptocurrencies. Bahrain, Malta, and Gibraltar are also deciding to create a better and stronger cryptocurrency sector which operates within the scope of the law. This approach is in striking contrast with major financial centers in the US, the UK, and China, where the situation is tough for such operators. However, it is also a step away from the loosely regulated jurisdictions of Belize and Seychelles which offer more easier business but don’t have adequate investor protection or money laundering laws in place.

Following the Money in Cryptocurrencies

Jesse Overall, a lawyer, specializing in crypto regulation at New York-based Clifford Chance noted, “There are jurisdictions in the see-no-evil, hear-no-evil camp. On the other end, there is the U.S., UK, EU. In the middle, that’s the juicy part of the spectrum.”

With the emergence of legal, supportive frameworks, both crypto companies and the jurisdictions can benefit. However, as it is still a relatively new industry, a small mistake could turn into a major blunder overnight. This is especially true in case of sensitive issues like money laundering and terrorism financing. However, the eagerness to innovate and change according to times is appreciable in these jurisdictions.

Recently, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse wrote an open letter to the Congress, comparing blockchain and digital currencies with the internet. He urged that the US should take the lead in this sector. However, while American lawmakers are still pondering over the sector, other countries are quickly moving ahead of it.