Kazakhstan has officially launched its central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital tenge, marking a significant step in the country’s financial technology evolution. The chairman of Kazakhstan’s National Payment Corporation (NPC), Binur Zhalenov, made the inaugural transaction with the digital tenge at the XI Congress of Finance in Almaty. This launch promises substantial platform development in 2024 and introduces the digital tenge into Kazakhstan’s retail market. The digital tenge is integrated into plastic cards in collaboration with Visa, Mastercard, and local banks, allowing payments globally through Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and other gadgets.
The digital tenge’s programmable nature paves the way for its use in smart contracts, innovative financial services, and digital asset transactions. The NPC, established in September to lead the development and implementation of the CBDC, plans to focus on offline payments in 2024 and anticipates adopting the digital tenge for cross-border trade by 2025.
This launch aligns with Kazakhstan’s broader regulatory stance on digital currencies. As the country rapidly rolls out its CBDC, it has increased its oversight of the broader crypto market, affecting access to major international crypto exchanges and prompting discussions around taxation rates for crypto mining activities.