Kazakhstan plans to enter the digital currency ecosystem with its own fiat-backed cryptocurrency.
This past Tuesday, the Maltese firm, Exante, and the Astana International Finance Center (AIFC) reportedly signed an agreement. The AIFC is supported by the Kazakhstan government. Extante, the “Next Generation Investment Company”, recently launched Stasis – the first-ever platform to propose a cryptocurrency that is directly backed by fiat money.
The announcement came via press release on Tuesday. Kairat Kelimbetov, the ex-head of the National Bank of Kazakhstan and AIFC’s governor, said, "Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies are entering the mainstream of today's economic reality." In the memorandum, Exante agreed to work with the AIFC to develop the Eurasian country’s untapped cryptocurrency market.
Mr. Kelimbetov further remarked:
"Astana's leading financial regulators have already commenced their work and are laying the foundation for Kazakhstan's FinTech-ecosystem. We believe that the AIFC can become an international hub for Blockchain operations and the development of the digital assets market is our key priority in the near future."
Kazakhstan is not the first country to take this step as a number of other countries and regulators have also indicated interest in developing their own cryptocurrencies. In August, the Estonian state-backed cryptocurrency, Estcoin, was also proposed. Last month, Japan signaled the launch of its own cryptocurrency, J-coin. According to CNBC, the Mizuho Financial Group reported that "the project is in the early stages, and we have just held study meetings with other institutions." Additionally, Russia's President announced that the country will now issue its own cryptocurrency, the CryptoRuble.
Kazakhstan's entry into the cryptocurrency market would be backed by Exante's new Blockchain platform, Stasis EURS, which is intended to facilitate transactions between cryptocurrencies and traditional finances.
Exante co-founder, Anatoly Knyazev, noted:
“The development of such system will bridge the gap between the traditional asset market and the crypto-world. We see keen interest from the market players, and we already have applications from other government-related financial institutions. The expected market cap of this asset is between 2 and 3 billion in Euro-equivalent.”
It has not yet been disclosed when the commercial launch of this new digital asset will take place. Reportedly, the technology is currently being tested out in a “closed mode”.