With much of the international community enraged by Alexander Lukashenko's government of Belarus following a recent controversial general election, the threat of a new wave of US-led economic sanctions against the nation and its leadership has become very real.
The European Union declared yesterday that its foreign ministers were already considering "specific sanctions", and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also spoke about the notion of imposing financial sanctions on Minsk.
The move has led many in the region to question whether Belarus' fledgling crypto industry could come into play, become a target, or even help Minsk avoid the consequences of the sanctions.
Several nations that have found themselves at odds with the United States have already tried to turn to the cryptocurrency sector, with mixed results.
While North Korea has reportedly been perfecting the art of raiding cryptocurrency exchanges based in nations allied to the United States, Venezuela has been less fortunate, rather than leaving its president “sitting” on large amounts of money. bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH) which supposedly has trouble switching.
Speaking to Russian news outlet RBC, experts stated that even if Belarus found a way to circumvent sanctions using cryptocurrencies, this would be little more than a "band-aid", with the economy sucked into the recession due to the broader implications of Economic sanctions. Similar cryptocurrency-fueled efforts in Venezuela and Iran, experts said, had failed to save those nations' economies.
However, Belarus' situation is somewhat different, as the nation has been actively pushing pro-crypto policies for over two years, and has built a highly profitable cryptocurrency industry on the billionaire. Hi-Tech Park in Minsk.
The park has been an economic success, generating revenues of USD 2 billion in 2019, 4% of the country's GDP. As such, it could well become a target for those who develop sanctions plans.
The same media cites Valery Petrov, vice president of Market Development and Regulation of the Russian Association of Crypto Industry and Blockchain, stating that if sanctions are imposed on the IT sector, they can "instantly" polarize the Belarusian cryptocurrency sector.
"The sanctions against the IT industry in Belarus will bring the industry into alignment with Russia or Poland, as companies will instantly vote with their feet."
The EU-led sanctions, Petrov added, would effectively force Belarus to choose a side, and could even see it try to align itself with China, which is also actively pursuing a glut of pro-blockchain trade.