Law
Firm

29 Oct 2019

WIRED interview with Denis Aleinikov: How Belarus Made a Crytocurrency Boom on the Post-Soviet Frontier

A WIRED journalist Hannah Lucinda Smith visited Belarus to interview prominent businesspeople, who were deeply involved in working on the revolutionary decree on development of digital economy. Denis Aleinikov, the senior partner at Aleinikov&Partners, was interviewed among those as he is a key developer of the decree.

Below are some excerpts from the piece. The full one is available on the WIRED website at www.wired.com

In December 2017, Alexander Lukashenko passed a decree allowing businesses registered with (although not necessarily physically located in) High Technology Park, an anodyne business center on the gray outskirts of the capital, to mine, develop, and trade in cryptocurrencies. It has, in theory, turned this ex-Soviet backwater into the most progressive blockchain jurisdiction in the world—“like a Seoul inside Pyongyang,” - says one Belarusian crypto-entrepreneur.

Viktor Prokopenya, a prominent Belarusian businessperson who first suggested the idea to Lukashenko, says the president was “very supportive of the idea from the get-go and was excited by the prospect of growing Belarus into a hub for blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies.”

Within a year of his pitch to Lukashenko, the decree had been drafted and signed. “It makes Belarus the first country in the world to create a dedicated legislative framework tailored to cryptocurrencies and their industry. The decree has made Belarus a trailblazer in the blockchain technology space,” Prokopenya says. Since the decree was enacted in March 2018, around a dozen blockchain-based startups have registered in High Technology Park.

“You either abide by the law, or you don’t touch US citizens and you develop a parallel system in the East,” says Denis Aleinikov, the lawyer whose firm helped draft Belarus’ cryptocurrency legislation. “We recommend all our clients abide by the law. But the US should understand that the world needs to move ahead. This is not a joke, it’s not just speculation about the future. Nobody can stop disruptive technology—not even the US.”