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Serbia, a forerunner in the cryptocurrency ecosystem

Nestled in the heart of the Balkans, Serbia is one of the innovative countries in terms of cryptocurrency and the development of blockchain tools. Its non-EU status allowed it to quickly take an interest in this new technology.

Serbia, a forerunner in the cryptocurrency ecosystem

Effective regulation

The Serbian Digital Assets Law entered into force at the end of June 2021. This law recognizes cryptocurrencies like bitcoin as virtual assets. Its provisions define them as digital records of value that can be bought, sold, transferred and traded. Already in December 2021 there were more than 200,000 people trading cryptocurrency . 

To better understand what has happened since this law, Cointribune had the chance to talk to two industry experts, Dr. Emilija Vukovic , president of the Serbian Blockchain Initiative (as well as many other projects in various fields ), and Ivan Bjelajac , CEO and co-founder of MVP workshop and General Manager of Celsius Network Europe.

First of all, it is important to note a difference between Serbian regulation and those of EU or North American countries. Indeed, for various reasons, including a fairly restrictive law on the exchange of foreign currency, Serbian companies have always had difficulty using international payment services such as PayPal or Stripe. The appearance of blockchains integrating a currency like Ethereum or Solana was welcomed as a solution to a very real problem in Serbia. This was not really the case in the countries of the European Union, for example.

Ivan Bjelajac explains to us that this law was adopted thanks to active communication between the various stakeholders of the Serbian sector, with real political support and the will of the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank. This cooperation has enabled many investors and companies to register legally and quickly, and to benefit from clear regulations, with a 15% tax on earnings. Among the various proofs of its adoption, the Exit! music festival, which is held in Serbia, has been accepting payment in bitcoins since May 2021 .

A very active community

Serbia has about 60 projects entirely based on blockchain, and about 60 others using blockchain technology in part. These figures are particularly impressive when we remember that the population is around 6 million.

Key projects include:

—   Tempus , a multi-chain fixed income protocol. Tempus integrates with loan protocols, staking protocols and yield aggregators, and allows users to peg or speculate on the yield they generate;

—   DeFi Saver , a single dashboard to create, manage and track your DeFi positions;

—   Solrise Finance , a decentralized fund management and investment protocol on Solana;

—   Tenderly , a comprehensive platform for Ethereum developers to monitor, alert, debug and simulate smart contracts in real time.

Among these companies, there are also behemoths, including a large part of the programming of Celsius Network , and more diverse projects such as Metaslavs, an NFT collection revolving around the universe of “slav”.

Serbia is indeed a blockchain developer nest, the Jugoslawian heritage and the will to grow of this country allowed it to specialize in programming and coding . Very quickly courses around cryptocurrency and blockchain technology began to appear in many universities in Serbia.

The Serbian Blockchain Initiative

The SBI is all a country needs to develop in this hyper-competitive universe, a national solidarity that makes its experts shine and challenges its community.

Their website states, “  Our members include companies that invest not only their resources, knowledge and experience, but also the personal motivation of their leaders. We firmly believe that to build the best blockchain environment, best legal practices and proper regulation are crucial.  »

Through their services, it is possible to take courses on different topics around cryptocurrency and blockchain such as “Blockchain for Managers – Understanding the Business Value of Blockchain” or “Blockchain for Lawyers – Smart Contract”. This type of initiative aligns skills across various fields and fosters the ecosystem in the country.

As Dr. Emilija Vukovic explains to us, there is a real desire to connect all the players in the ecosystem and to make Serbia shine together internationally in order to attract talent from all over the world.

For this, nothing better than online events or, when sanitary conditions allow, face-to-face. During these events, many Serbian companies interested in blockchain but not knowing where to start can find the information and contacts necessary to develop this technological branch.

The SBI works directly with the various government stakeholders to support the blockchain revolution, and to strengthen an already advantageous regulation in order to attract expatriates from all over the world to a country that wants to be a crypto Eldorado in the heart of Europe. .

Serbia is transforming and benefiting from its status as a fully sovereign country in order to accelerate its crypto transition, even if some companies prefer to settle in even less taxed countries. The Serbian community intends to continue to innovate, attract and create.