Cryptocurrency in Eastern Europe has been taking off in a big way. At Digitex, this trend hasn’t gone unnoticed. In fact, the newest version of our website in Russian will be available soon and we’re working on translating the exchange as well. Check it out!
Crypto is big in Eastern Europe. Even as far back at 2016, 11 percent of Eastern European consumers were using cryptocurrency as a payment method every day–nearly three times the European average of 4 percent.
Now, in response to the clear demand from the region for cryptocurrency innovation, Digitex is working hard to translate our website into Russian. The finished version will be available soon and we’ll soon have the futures exchange translated as well. This will make Digitex even more accessible to all the Russian-speaking crypto-fans across Eastern Europe!
A Look at the Eastern European Market
Despite the fact that it’s often referred to as a bloc, Eastern Europe is comprised of many different cultures and characteristics within each country. While many Eastern European nations share a history as part of the former USSR, each country has approached the transition to post-Soviet independence in subtly different ways.
Now, these differences are also becoming reflected in the way that the various nations are approaching cryptocurrencies and blockchain innovation. Many are positively embracing the economic opportunities of new technology.
Here, we take a look at a selection of Eastern European nations that have taken steps towards recognition of cryptocurrencies, and how this is impacting innovation in those countries.
Spotlight on Russia
As a country, Russia has a cultural reputation for being enigmatic. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Russian approach to cryptocurrencies is no different.
If proof of that statement is needed, then back in February of this year, President Vladimir Putin spoke with the head of Russia’s largest bank about how the country must stay ahead in technological innovation.
Given that the discussion itself was focused on blockchain, it was an impressive feat of conversational gymnastics that he managed to make several bold statements about the need for progress, all without ever mentioning the word blockchain!
Since then, the country has adopted several bills on ‘Digital Finance Assets’. However, there is little clarity for the layperson on exactly how the Russian state intends to interpret these regulations. Not only that, but the bills themselves are still subject to ongoing changes and don’t seem to mention the word “cryptocurrency.”
Now, a group of Russian lawyers has formed their own commission that will attempt to navigate the nebulous waters of crypto regulation. This should clear up the lack of clarity on cryptocurrency and blockchain in the country and this can only be a positive thing for the space.
Interestingly, lack of certainty on the regulation of cryptocurrencies doesn’t seem to be deterring the people of Russia. They’re still rushing to adopt cryptocurrencies compared to other countries.
P2P exchange LocalBitcoins reports that 26.5 percent of its users come from Russia, topping out all other countries! And during the World Cup in summer 2018, local hotels were accepting cryptocurrencies as payment.
Great news then, for Russian crypto-users, that the Digitex website will soon be available in their native language, as well as Russian-speaking Community Management staff for Telegram customer support.
A Look at Belarus
Belarus is also making strides in cryptocurrency regulation and adoption. The government of Belarus recently accepted a regulatory framework that provides comprehensive guidance over many different aspects of cryptocurrencies. It covers tokens, exchanges, mining, and new initiatives such as ICOs and STOs.
Not only that, but there’s a complete tax exemption for capital gains arising from all crypto transactions until 2023! The regulations call for companies to provide full transparency regarding who’s administering the company and receiving the profits from crypto transactions.
There is also a strong focus on KYC regulations and user data protection, which means that all blockchain companies must carry this out on their customers to do business here. This is an increasing requirement from many regions and Digitex will be carrying out full KYC before public launch, allowing us to access more markets.
This progressive attitude is an attempt to put Belarus on a similar footing to other capitals of crypto-innovation including Switzerland and South Korea, the latter of which also offers great potential for Digitex Futures trading.
Entrepreneurs are already taking advantage of the benefits available from the new regulations in Belarus, with the number of tech companies increasing over the time since the regulations came into force.
Estonia the Blockchain Nation
This tiny country in the far corner of north-east Europe is a hotspot of digital innovation. Estonia has been called the “world’s most advanced digital society,” for its forward-thinking approach, which includes 100 percent electronic health records and tax filing. Not to mention the cutting edge “e-residency” program, which allows non-residents access to the digital corporate infrastructure of Estonia.
This approach to digitization led to Estonia implementing a blockchain-based voting system. Estonia was even contemplating releasing its own state cryptocurrency, Estcoin. However, as the country is in the Eurozone, the plan was dropped after heavy criticism from the Head of the European Central Bank.
Estcoin or no Estcoin, in such a culture of innovation, Digitex has much to offer. Our zero-fee exchange model together with our decentralized, democratic token issuance mechanism put Digitex at the leading edge of developments in exchange technology.
Georgia the Epicenter of Mining
In the crypto space, the Republic of Georgia is most notable for being the European epicenter of mining activities. In April this year, it was second only to China, mostly due to its electricity subsidies making it one of the most economical locations for mining crypto.
In addition to cheap power, the Georgian government waived VAT and offered preferential tariffs. These favorable conditions attracted considerable foreign investment, increasing the openness to cryptocurrency innovation in the nation. The Georgian government has also implemented a blockchain-based land registry.
Although the government has yet to issue any formal regulation regarding the use of cryptocurrencies, current discussions indicate it’s inevitable. However, given the influx of foreign investment in mining, it also appears to be a reasonably safe bet that the Georgian government won’t make cryptocurrencies illegal.
Wrapping it Up
The countries listed here are by no means the only ones in the region that are making headway in cryptocurrency adoption and regulation. However, they are all notable in their stated willingness to encourage blockchain and cryptocurrency innovation.
Although regulatory developments are likely to continue across Eastern European countries, the future is looking bright for many blockchain entrepreneurs and cryptocurrency enthusiasts in this corner of the world.
Digitex is excited to launch our site and services to Russian speakers across the Eastern Europe region. Remember that there’s also support for our Russian-speaking users via our community management team.
And if you haven’t yet signed up for our early access waitlist to trial the Beta version of Digitex, there’s still time! Get on the list here.