Kazakhstan Launching Fiat Cryptocurrency

The country’s government-supported Astana International Finance Center (AIFC) said Tuesday it had signed a deal of cooperation with Maltese firm Exante.

In a press release, Exante, which calls itself a “next generation investment company,” said it would work with the AIFC to develop the ex-Soviet nation’s untapped cryptocurrency market.

”Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are entering the mainstream of today’s economic reality,” Kairat Kelimbetov, governor of the Astana International Finance Center, said in the press release Tuesday.

”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’s entry into the digital currency ecosystem would be underpinned by Exante’s new blockchain platform, ‘Stasis’.

Blockchains are digital ledgers that record cryptocurrency transactions on encrypted “blocks” across a distributed network of computers.

”The development of such a system will bridge the gap between the traditional asset market and the crypto-world,” Anatoly Knyazev, co-founder of Exante, said. “We see keen interest from the market players, and we already have applications from other government-related financial institutions.”

The technology is being experimented in a “closed mode” at present, and Exante didn’t indicate a timeline for commercial launch.
— https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/17/kazakhstan-plans-to-launch-its-own-cryptocurrency.html

The CryptoRuble: Russia's Next Currency interview by Sputnik's Andrew Korybko with Dr. Garrick Hileman, Research Fellow at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge and entrepreneur Jim Talbott October 21, 2017

As in Russia, Kazakhstan's cryptocurrency issuance will be controlled by the State, and is intimately tied to the country's status as a global energy exporter. The question of how rapidly we will see cryptorubles or cryptotengits (KZT) 'in the wild' being traded through the Moscow or available to non-Russian and non-Kazakh nationals is an interesting one. According to a story posted by V the Guerrilla Economist here at RogueMoney on October 19, ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is skeptical governments in the former Soviet Union are actually ready to unleash these blockchain units into the global digital currency marketplace, where they could be owned by foreigners and compete with privately issued fiat like bitcoin or dash:

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has stated that he is “not expecting to see any kind of large-scale, live central bank digital currency actually launched for another few years.” He added that “if it is, then I guarantee you that it will basically be a server with a bunch of marketing buzzwords to make it look like a blockchain.” He made the remark while participating in an October 17 panel discussion at Swell, a conference convened by blockchain firm Ripple in Toronto.
— https://www.roguemoney.net/?author=524c6a2de4b0ad97e93c9607

However, as the Russia Analyst argued in our October 16 piece drawing on the research of London Paul into potential gold or other physical commodity backing for these Eurasian cryptocurrencies, there is a geoeconomic logic to accelerating the use of the digital ruble and tengits as block chain logged petrocurrencies. Furthermore, even if the initial use of these cryptocurrencies is non dollar or non euro trade settlement for oil and gas contracts, it will not be long before they become attractive for transparent payment in the sector most plagued by corruption in the former Soviet space: real estate. Additionally Kazakhstan's role as a major global oil producer that like Russia stands outside of OPEC but is required to do business with the weakened cartel's production cuts makes the crypto-tenge an attractive asset to Gulf state investors -- particularly those keen to join in President Nazarbayev's 'Nurly Zhol' infrastructure investment program that's been expanded since Russia sanctions and lower oil prices hit Astana's economy in 2014.

While Astana already has world class infrastructure in the capitol, the rest of the country and especially Kazakhstan's Central Asian neighbors not blessed with abundant oil and gas like Tajikistan which largely survive on cotton exports or remittances from migrant workers in the Russian Federation desperately need more long term investment to grow. Denominating bonds in crypto-yuan, with the option for crypto-ruble payout could be a part of an effort to entice greater Russian and Chinese investment into OBOR linked projects across the region.