How Belorussian crypto community is going through the crisis
In the 2010s, Belarus was called the “Silicon Valley of Eastern Europe”: the Hi-Tech Park was located here; the country was actively developing the IT industry, including the blockchain. But in mid-August 2020, after the presidential elections, a political crisis began in the country. It was manifested itself by mass protests which were brutally repressed by police, and Internet shutdown. Now the country which was absolutely “crypto-friendly” only a year ago, are becoming negative for business. Cryptocurrency exchanges, blockchain startups, and investors have demonstrated their attitude already.
Trading with VPN
Internet issues in Belarus began on August 12, and problems still have been continuing. Cryptocurrency exchanges that operate in the country have taken special measures to minimize risks.
The Currency.com exchange transferred some of its employees to foreign offices in advance, so it worked smoothly during the shutdown. And the bitcoin exchanger FREE2EX received several requests from users, which is difficult to log in. Customers reported that it was only possible with a VPN.
Crypto community against violence
During the protests in Belarus, more than 7 million people were detained: oppositionists, protesters, and just civilians. Among them were cryptocurrency enthusiast Evgeny Romanenko; employees of large IT companies, including Viber. Searches took place in Yandex and Uber offices.
High tech companies wrote an open letter to Alexander Lukashenko, in which they spoke out against the violence and pointed out the economic consequences of the crisis. Blockchain experts also put their signatures under it: the leading engineer of the Currency.com exchange and a developer from the startup Unstoppable Domains.
Exchanges leave Minsk
In mid-September, the Bittrex cryptocurrency exchange announced that it would stop serving users from several countries, including Belarus. Officially, the company attributes this to "regulatory considerations."
Сurrency.com, located in the Belarusian High Technologies Park, has created a reserve office in Vilnius (Lithuania). The company's management does not conceal that the reason is political instability.
After the opening of the Lithuanian branch, the Сurrency.com office in Belarus will continue to work, and the employees will be able to choose where they will work.
Crypto community members hope that the Belorussian crisis will not become protracted, and the exodus of companies from the country will be massive.
Earlier, we analyzed the reasons why bitcoin rises during crises.