Crypto companies may look to exit Belarus as political unrest deepens in the EU’s Eastern neighbor, usurped by “the last dictator in Europe” Alexander Lukashenko.
Per TUT.by, the Minsk-based Currency.com platform, which claims to be the world’s first regulated tokenized securities exchange, is set to open an office in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania for employees who want to “take a sabbatical” from the firm’s Belarusian headquarters.
The media outlet reported that Jonathan Squires, the recently appointed British CEO of Currency.com operator Capital.com, wrote a letter to the firm’s employees. In the letter, the CEO stated that his firm would maintain its offices in Minsk, and claimed that the Vilnius office would initially be small.
However, he added,
“We expect that, in the near future, most employees who wish to relocate will be able to do so.”
Squires added that Vilnius, located less than 200 km from Minsk, was a “natural” venue for a second office in the region.
Squires also appeared to equate Belarus’ current predicament to that of the UK and the Brexit process. He claimed that he left the United Kingdom after the country voted in favor of leaving the EU.
“The changes in Belarus are more ambitious and will not be completed in the near future. It could take years for things to return to normal.”
He added that those who wished to participate in protests or abstain from involvement were free to do so, but urged employees not to wear Capital.com or Currency.com-branded items of clothing in public.
Last month, TUT.by also reported that a number of Minsk-based employees of the Russian internet giant Yandex had been relocated to Russia following a police raid on the firm’s Belarusian offices.
Mass demonstrations are taking place in Belarus for around a month now as people protest against police brutality, tortures, killings, and to reject the presidential election results. Supported by Russia, Lukashenko, in power since 1994, denies electoral fraud and has rejected calls for new elections.