Will Belarus become a Bitcoin mining hub?
Since China banned Bitcoin (BTC) mining in most of its territory, many countries are trying to get a piece of this thriving business. Between the United States and Kazakhstan, several countries previously ignored by miners are trying to get their hands on the business.
This is particularly the case of Belarus, which could adopt measures in the near future to develop the cryptocurrency mining industry on its territory, if we believe the statements of the country’s president.
RBC news agency reports that at a meeting held at state-owned JSC Belaruskali, one of the world’s largest producers of potash fertilizers, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko urged employees to use the available surplus electricity to mine cryptocurrencies.
The president also said that Belarus is endowed with enough electricity resources to power large infrastructure dedicated to crypto-currency mining. In fact, he mentioned the possibility of bringing abandoned industrial sites back into operation, which could be exploited to earn new revenue from mining:
“We have to understand, they are not waiting for us anywhere […] Build something based on electricity. Go ahead, start mining cryptocurrencies or whatever it’s called. There is enough electricity in the country,” he added.
A country that has already been crypto-friendly for a few years
This statement is not so surprising when you consider that Belarus legalized all cryptocurrency activities in March 2018. In April 2019, Alexander Lukashenko had even suggested that Bitcoin mining farms could be set up alongside the nuclear power plant in the Grodno region. Moreover, all revenues generated from crypto-currency mining activities are tax-free until 2023.
Despite this positive view of the Belarusian president towards crypto-currency mining, he did not specify in any way whether subsidies could be allocated to individuals who actually want to engage in such an activity.
In addition to the initial investment, the costs of running a mining farm are relatively significant. Like other jurisdictions, the Belarusian government will have to provide funds to actually attract miners, or offer them preferential electricity rates.
In any case, Belarus is proving to be very crypto-friendly, and some institutions have already taken the plunge. This is notably the case of of Belarusbank, the country’s largest bank that manages more than $13.5 billion in assets (according to 2017 figures). In November 2020, the bank actually launched a cryptocurrency buying and selling service for its clients, both institutional and retail.
All these features clearly indicate that Belarus may be in a position to become a full-fledged crypto-nation in a while.
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About the author: Clement Wardzala
Editor-in-Chief of Cryptoast, I discovered Bitcoin and blockchain technology in 2017. Since then, I’ve been striving to share qualitative content so that the sector can be democratized to everyone.
All articles by Clement Wardzala.