A source close to the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB) recently revealed that the bank is considering strict requirements for investing in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Additionally, а similar regulatory framework is planned for crypto exchanges, local IT media outlet dev.by reports Tuesday, May 8.
The regulators proposed limiting ICO investments to qualified investors in order to minimize the risk of common investors losing their money.
Qualified investors must fulfill two of four criteria: an individual may become qualified if they have relevant education and work experience. If an individual lacks either of these, they must fulfill one of the financial criteria.
According to dev.by, the financial threshold to become a qualified investor is “very high.” Potential investors must have either a $20,000 minimum annual income, or a $50,000 minimum savings. Both sums may include crypto assets and securities, as well as fiat money. According to CEIC data, Belarusian annual household income per capita was $3,478.27 in 2017.
Apart from minimums for annual revenues and accumulated capital, qualified investors must also possess special education and work experience in the relevant field. The report says the same standards will apply to cryptocurrency traders. The source said:
“Belarusian crypto exchanges and ICO issuers have no room for error. The investment system in Belarus is at the stage of formation. If any Belarusian ICO project which raised money from the citizens fails, it can become a national scandal. People will lose money. Therefore, at the initial stage of development, we propose to limit ourselves [sic] only to qualified investors.”
For ICOs, regulators are planning to set a number of qualifications and reputational requirements, such as an absence of debts on budget payments, risk management policies, internal control policies, and anti-money laundering (AML) policies.
Advertising requirements for ICOs are similar to those prescribed for cryptocurrency exchanges: they should not contain promises of guaranteed income, but rather an extended warning on investment risks. The upcoming ICO rules will take “international experience” into account, and would be flexible in order to adapt with dynamic and fast-growing cryptocurrency markets, the source says.
Last week, Cointelegraph reported that Belarusian authorities would revise the Decree on the Development of Digital Economy in order to require certain crypto exchanges to provide customer data to authorities. Earlier in March, Belarus officially introduced cryptocurrency accounting standards.