World's First Regulated Tokenized Securities Exchange Launches

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Belarus yesterday saw the launch of its first cryptocurrency exchange, thirteen months after digital assets were legalized by the government., created by two IT-focused investment vehicles, Larnabel Ventures and VP Capital, also claims to be the world’s first regulated tokenized securities exchange, allowing users to trade not just digital assets but traditional ones too, like precious metals, foreign exchange, and stocks. The project was financially backed by London-based Belarusian entrepreneur Viktar Prakapenya and Russian businessman Said Gutseriyev, and represents the first fruits from the country’s recent investment into blockchain technology.

Belarus’ Technology Push

Belarus’ push to increase its exposure to the areas of technology and IT can be traced back to the mid-2000s, when the High-Tech Park was created in Minsk in 2006. Since then the country has built a strong foundation as a tech hub, developing some globally recognized IT brands. The push to bring blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies into the fold began in 2016 and was confirmed in 2017 when President Alyaksandr Lukashenka signed a decree legalizing the use of cryptocurrencies in transactions. He saw it as a way to attract a new breed of developers to the region. At the time, the head of Microsoft’s Belarus office, Anton Myakishev, labelled the decree a “breakthrough for Belarus”, and indeed the move seems to be paying off – in October 2018 Belarus hosted a Bitcoin and blockchain conference.

The First of a New Breed launched with over 10,000 tokenized assets from Bitcoin to gold to Apple shares, and was met with over 2,000 registrants within the first hours. In line with regulations, each user must pass anti-money laundering and KYC requirements, but with four years left on the five-year tax break on cryptocurrency trades as part of the 2017 decree, it should be worth the paperwork. CEO Ivan Gowan told Belarusian news site BelTA: offers and guarantees to its users protection from potential risks and frauds in addition to fully transparent transactions and the observance of all standards set by the Belarusian legislation on cryptocurrencies.

Tokenized securities have long been considered a breakthrough moment for cryptocurrencies, and so much rests on the success or otherwise of this pioneering project.