According to local news agency Informburo on September 28, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said that Kazakhstan is ready to legalize a mechanism for converting cryptocurrency into cash if there is a demand.
Speaking at the International Forum Digital Bridge 2022, Tokayev emphasized that Kazakhstan aims to become an international leader in digital technology, the cryptocurrency ecosystem, and regulated mining. He noted that the government of Kazakhstan has drafted amendments to the national law to pilot a mechanism for digital currency conversion in the Astana International Financial Center.
“We are ready to go further. If this financial instrument shows more importance and security, it will definitely receive full legal recognition,” Tokayev said.
The head of state reportedly visited a joint booth of major domestic lender Eurasian Bank and the Intebix crypto exchange at the Digital Bridge 2022 event.
According to local reports, the Eurasian Bank and Intebix have announced that they have jointly completed the bank’s first regulated crypto purchase for fiat. This precedent set a milestone in the adoption of cryptocurrency in Kazakhstan, allowing the Kazakh people to legally purchase cryptocurrency for the tenge national currency.
Other companies in the pilot crypto projects include cryptocurrency exchanges such as ATAIX as well as the largest banks in Kazakhstan, Halyk Bank and Altyn Bank.
The news comes as thousands of Russians are entering Kazakhstan just one week after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of reservists to fight in Ukraine. On September 21, Halyk Bank suspended the use of Russia’s Mir payment cards amid warnings of sanctions by the US Treasury.
Kazakhstan is not the only country that has emerged as a popular destination for Russians leaving the country and is working to promote cryptocurrency adoption. Neighboring Georgia is also moving to introduce new crypto regulations in order to become a global cryptocurrency hub.
Related: Russian officials agree to use cryptocurrency for cross-border payments
While countries like Georgia and Kazakhstan seem to welcome cryptocurrency alongside Russians fleeing the mobilization, Europe is growing concerned about Russians turning to crypto to access their cash. After restricting Russian payments to European crypto wallets to €10,000 in April, the EU is said to now also plan to ban Russian citizens and entities from holding any assets in EU crypto wallets.
As previously reported, Russia has been largely dependent on foreign exchange infrastructure to conduct cryptocurrency operations. The Bank of Russia has repeatedly argued that the country should not legalize any domestic cryptocurrency exchanges.