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Serbia legalises issuance and trading of crypto assets

Serbia legalised the issuance and trading of digital assets under a new law that went into effect two days ago

Serbia has changed its stance regarding cryptocurrencies and now allows the issuance and trading of digital assets in the country. The new law went into effect on 29 December, making it legal for residents to trade cryptocurrencies.

The Serbian legislature announced the draft law in October and proceeded to pass the law late last month. The “Digital Asset Law” officially became active on Tuesday and will be applied six months from the said date.

Serbia was not a cryptocurrency-friendly country in the past. Six years ago, the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) declared that Bitcoin would not be accepted as a legal tender in the country. However, the country has now changed its position and supports the growth of the cryptocurrency sector.

Under the new law, digital asset service providers in the country can operate when they obtain permission from the supervisory authority. The NBS and Serbia’s Securities Commission will supervise the cryptocurrency sector and implement the law.

Digital assets can be issued in the country with or without an approved white paper. However, developers without an approved white paper cannot advertise their digital assets in Serbia. There are limitations on the number of such assets that can be shared with the public.

Exchanges need a license to operate

Serbia’s new law also covers cryptocurrency trading. Digital asset exchanges are required to obtain a license to operate. Furthermore, secondary trading of cryptocurrencies issued in Serbia, the use of smart contracts in secondary trading and over-the-counter (OTC) trading are also permitted under the law.

The new regulation doesn’t cover digital transactions conducted within a limited network of people accepting digital assets as a form of reward or loyalty. The law also doesn’t apply to miners who are allowed to obtain digital assets via mining.

Financial institutions under the watch of the NBS are not allowed to engage with digital assets except to store cryptographic keys. These institutions are prohibited from converting their assets to virtual currencies or instruments associated with virtual assets. Furthermore, they aren’t allowed to provide digital assets-related services or participate in businesses offering those services. The digital assets providers in Serbia have to request permission from a regulatory body within six months before the law is implemented.

The new law comes when Serbia and its Eastern European counterparts like Romania and Bulgaria are experiencing a tech boom. In Serbia, the tech sector now accounts for more than 6% of its total GDP.

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