MINSK, Belarus (AP) — The president of Belarus has offered generous tax benefits and other incentives to information technology firms to help turn the ex-Soviet nation into a leader in digital currencies.

President Alexander Lukashenko said his Friday decree is intended to create "unique competitive advantages to attract technologies, capitals and talented people from around the world."

The move would encourage the use of digital currencies and offer sweeping tax incentives to those who mine bitcoins.

The cryptocurrency has been notoriously volatile, with a significant crash every quarter and a particularly unstable week. Friday, it lost a quarter of its value in the past 24 hours.

Lukashenko's decree represents a sharp turn for the Soviet-style, government-controlled economy he's run since 1994 with little tolerance for dissent and most economic assets in state hands.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.