In 2023, Kazakhstan’s Financial Monitoring Agency (FMA) blocked access to almost a thousand crypto exchanges serving the country’s citizens without proper registration.
According to a Dec. 7 press release published on the government’s website, the FMA denied access to 980 illegal platforms in 2023. It also launched nine investigations into “illegal exchange operations” and money laundering. This information was revealed by the chairman of the FMA, Ruslan Ostroumov, during the meeting of the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering in China.
The Digital Assets Law, enacted in February 2023, prohibits creating and trading digital currencies and cryptocurrency exchange activities unless a national license is obtained. The Astana International Financial Center (AIFC), functioning as a special economic zone in Kazakhstan, is responsible for granting preliminary approval for operations.
The list of exchanges blocked due to the absence of a national license includes some major international platforms. In November, it became known that Kazakh citizens were unable to access the Coinbase website after this was blocked by an order from 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.
To date, Binance, Bybit, CaspianEx, Biteeu, ATAIX, Upbit and Xignal&MT have been approved to operate in the country.