Kazakhstan Ready to Legalize Crypto as Russians Flock to the Country

Kazakhstan is ready to legalize a mechanism for converting cryptocurrencies into cash if there is demand, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said, according to local news agency Informburo on September 28.

Speaking at the Digital Bridge 2022 international forum, Tokayev stressed that Kazakhstan aims to become an international leader in the field of digital technology, cryptocurrency ecosystem and regulated mining. He noted that the government of Kazakhstan has drafted amendments to national legislation to pilot a crypto conversion mechanism at the International Financial Center in Astana.

“We are ready to go further. If this financial instrument shows its additional relevance and security, it will certainly receive full legal recognition,” Tokayev said.

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The country’s president reportedly visited a joint booth of major local lender Eurasian Bank and crypto exchange Intebix at the Digital Bridge 2022 event.

According to local reports, Eurasian Bank and Intebix have announced that they have jointly completed the bank’s first regulated crypto purchase for fiat. The precedent marked a milestone in the adoption of crypto in Kazakhstan, allowing the Kazakh people to legally buy crypto for tenge, the national currency.

Other companies participating in the crypto pilots include crypto exchanges like ATAIX as well as Kazakhstan’s largest bank, Halyk Bank and Altyn Bank.

The news comes as thousands of Russians are crossing into Kazakhstan just a 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 Russian Mir payment cards amid sanctions warnings from the US Treasury Department.

Kazakhstan is not the only country that has become a popular destination for Russians leaving the country and has been working to boost crypto adoption. Neighboring Georgia has also decided to introduce new crypto regulations in order to become a global crypto hub.

Related: Russian authorities approve the use of crypto for cross-border payments

As countries like Georgia and Kazakhstan seem to welcome crypto alongside Russians fleeing the mobilization, Europe is increasingly concerned that Russians are turning to crypto to access their money. After limiting Russian payments to European crypto wallets to €10,000 in April, the European Union is also reportedly planning to ban Russian nationals and entities from holding assets in EU crypto wallets.

As noted earlier, Russia has relied heavily on foreign crypto infrastructure to conduct cryptocurrency operations. The Bank of Russia has repeatedly argued that the country should not legalize any local crypto exchanges.

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Kazakhstan Ready to Legalize Crypto as Russians Flock to the Country


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