Amid the ongoing political unrest in Belarus, some local cryptocurrency-related companies are reportedly setting up backup offices in neighboring countries.
Currency.com, a Minsk-headquartered crypto trading company, is reportedly planning to open an office in Lithuania to provide a safe place for its employees.
According to a Sept. 8 report by local news agency TUT.BY, Currency.com is offering its Belarus-based employees to “take a sabbatical” in Vilnius amid the current election-fueled unrest.
Currency.com CEO Jonathan Squires reportedly said that the company will maintain its offices in Minsk, while relocation is voluntary. “We expect that most employees who wish to relocate will be able to do so in the near future,” Squires noted.
Squires also said that Currency.com’s employees are free to either take part in local protests or refrain from participating. However, the staff is reportedly advised not to wear Currency.com or Capital.com-branded clothing in public. Capital.com is Currency.com’s sister platform, regulated by the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority and the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission.
A spokesperson for Currency.com told Cointelegraph that "Since the beginning of the year, we have been considering the possibility of opening a small office in Vilnius, partly due to our plans of obtaining another European license. Currency.com is not planning to close its Belarusian office."
As reported, Currency.com’s decision to choose Lithuania was a natural move, as the firm has a lot of connections in the country. Vilnius is also located about 120 miles from Minsk.
Belarus is home to a number of world-famous applications and games like Viber and World of Tanks. As Cointelegraph previously reported, the ongoing political unrest poses a threat to local IT and cryptocurrency projects.
Companies in tech were heavily impacted by major internet outages that are supposedly linked to the government. As reported, 9.5 million people in Belarus did not have proper access to the internet on Aug. 9 — the day of the presidential election that resulted in Alexander Lukashenko claiming a sixth term with some 80% of the ballot.
Protests following the disputed presidential election have seen brutal blowback from police, including reports of authorities torturing and even killing protestors.
On Aug. 25, TUT.BY also reported that many Minsk-based employees of the Russian internet giant Yandex had to relocate to Russia following police raids on the company’s offices in Belarus.