March 5, 2024

Kazakhstan’s authorities confirm they blocked access to Coinbase: Report

The authorities cited the Law on Digital Assets, enacted in February 2023, that forbids the issuance and trading of digital currencies and the crypto exchange operation without a national license, according to reports.

The Ministry of Culture and Information of Kazakhstan has officially confirmed they have blocked the Coinbase website in the country. The authorities of Kazakhstan have been blocking local IPs’ access to Coinbase since September at least.  

According to a Nov. 7 report from a local news outlet, Kursiv, access to the Coinbase website was blocked by an order of the Ministry of Culture and Information. Ministry representatives explained to journalists that the request came from a different government body, the Ministry of Digital Development, which accused Coinbase of violating the Law on Digital Assets.

The Law on Digital Assets, enacted in February 2023, bans the issuance and trading of digital currencies and the crypto exchange operation without a national license. The in-principal approval to operate is granted by the authority of the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC), a special economic zone of Kazakhstan.

Related: Kazakhstan establishes regulatory agency to implement CBDC

So far, Binance, Bybit, CaspianEx, Biteeu, ATAIX, Upbit and Xignal&MT have been approved by the AIFC Financial Services Authority.

The first reports about the problems with accessing the Coinbase website appeared in September, when the local Telegram media Finance. kz wrote that the “great Kazakh investment firewall” blocks access not only to Coinbase but also to Kraken and other major international crypto exchanges.

Kazakhstan has taken a stringent regulatory approach to crypto, including around its mining sector which is one of the largest in the world. In October, eight major cryptocurrency mining operators signed an open letter to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, claiming ​​that the crypto-mining industry is in a “very distressful situation” because of high energy prices for miners.

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