Kazakhstan Confirms Official Block of Coinbase Website Amid Ongoing Restrictions
The Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan has officially confirmed that it blocked access to the Coinbase website in the country, citing violations of the country’s new digital assets law.
According to a report from November 7 by the local news outlet Kursiv, Kazakhstan stated that the order to block Coinbase’s website came from the Ministry of Digital Development after Coinbase was accused of violating the Law of Digital Assets.
This move follows earlier reports of access difficulties to Coinbase from local IP addresses, which emerged in September. During this period, various sources noted that not only Coinbase but also other major international cryptocurrency exchanges, including Kraken, were subject to access restrictions within Kazakhstan.
The Ministry of Digital Development in Kazakhstan has accused Coinbase of violating the country’s Law on Digital Assets, which was enacted in February 2023. Specifically, Coinbase’s cryptocurrency trading activities were deemed to contradict Article 11, Clause 5 of the law, which prohibits the issuance and trading of digital currencies without a national license.
In response to this alleged violation, the Ministry of Digital Development submitted a request to the Ministry of Information, urging them to limit access to Coinbase. Consequently, the exchange’s website was blocked in Kazakhstan under the provisions of the Communications Act, which empowers internet service providers to restrict access to websites hosting prohibited content.
While several other crypto exchanges have received licenses to operate in Kazakhstan within the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC), including Binance, CaspianEx, Biteeu, ATAIX, Upbit, Xignal&MT, and Bybit, Coinbase, along with Kraken and other international crypto exchanges, has faced restrictions, leading to difficulties for cryptocurrency users in the country.
Kazakhstan Blocks Access to Foreign Brokers and Crypto Exchanges, While Promoting Local Regulatory Opportunities
Kazakhstan’s move to block foreign brokers and cryptocurrency exchanges came to the forefront after reports by the Telegram channel FINANCE.kz, now known as The Tenge website. They highlighted that most websites of foreign brokers and cryptocurrency exchanges were inaccessible in Kazakhstan without the use of a VPN. Interestingly, Interactive Brokers was reported to be still opening accounts for users in Kazakhstan.
In Kazakhstan, both local and foreign companies with limited resources have the opportunity to obtain a license to operate within the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC). These firms are permitted to provide FinTech and RegTech services without immediate full compliance with all regulatory requirements. To register a company in the AIFC, an initial application outlining the project’s development concept must be submitted. If approved, a complete application should follow within two months for further review by the AFSA (AIFC Financial Services Authority), with authorization granted on the FinTech Lab site once all prerequisites are met.
Notably, Kazakhstan has adopted a rigorous regulatory approach to cryptocurrencies, including the cryptocurrency mining sector, which is among the world’s largest. In October, eight major cryptocurrency mining operators in Kazakhstan expressed their concerns to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev through an open letter, focusing on high energy prices for miners and the challenging conditions faced by the crypto-mining industry in the country.