Belarus is a geographical center of Europe. However, it is still unknown to many Americans and even citizens of West Europe. Aleksandr Lukashenko, the president of Belarus who has been in charge for more than 20 years, is perhaps the brightest association with the country.
Meanwhile, this small country is a big player on international market of outsourcing software development. The export of services reached $1 billion in 2016 and keeps on growing. There are a number of outstanding products Belarus is proud of. Rakuten, Japanese retail giant, has acquired Viber Messenger for $900 million. Last year, MSQRD developers concluded a deal with largest social network Facebook (the revenue wasn’t disclosed).
Belarus has its own “silicon valley “– so-called Hi-Tech Park. The entity consists of separate IT companies that have considerable tax benefits. EPAM, global provider of software engineering and IT consulting services, is one of the most prominent representatives of Belarusian Hi-Tech Park. Company’s shares are traded at NYSE.
President of the country has been meeting businessmen and owners of IT companies since March 2017 to outline an ambitious goal – to create a huge IT incubator in Belarus. The roadmap includes multiple steps from IT education for children to development of world-class software. Representatives of Hi-Tech Park together with governmental authorities are to develop full-fledged legislative regulation of the initiative. This is a good start as rational regulation tends to fall behind the development.
Yesterday, on July 17th, the draft bill addressing such IT spheres as blockchain, cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence, self-driving cars among other was published. The bill encourages international investment funds and corporations which used to be either forbidden or too risky.
The bill approves of putting cryptocurrencies and tokens based on the blockchain technology into mainstream. Full-scale legal control is planned to enable residents of Hi-Tech Park offer services of crypto exchanges, use cryptocurrencies and tokens, as well as launch ICOs to raise funds.
The initiative will allow legalizing cryptocurrencies and mining activity that used to lack reasonable regulation. Earlier, National Bank called cryptocurrencies “artificial” and recommended to avoid them. Now, legal creation of mining centers in Belarus becomes possible. The idea is really promising taking into account the expected excess electric power due to putting Belarusian nuclear power station in operation.
Moreover, National Bank of Belarus has successfully tested and approved the use of blockchain technology in banking sphere.
Coinspeaker has recently published an article about Kazakhstan that aims to become regional center for blockchain startups.
Russia keeps up as well putting a great deal of efforts in this area. In early June, Vitalik Buterin participated at International Economic Forum in Saint Petersburg where he discussed possible application of Ethereum platform with President Vladimir Putin.
WavesPlatform is one of the most prominent startups with russian roots managed to raise record $17 million during the ICO. One of the most amazing features of the platform is as simple start of one’s own ICO as possible – literally, a couple of clicks are needed.
It is interesting that Belarus, Russian and Kazakhstan form the Customs Union with tax benefits and simplified regulation while the total population of the three countries numbers 175 million, which is over half of the USA.