Kazakhstan’s central bank is planning to examine the potential benefits and risks of adopting a state-backed digital currency.
The National Bank of Kazakhstan, or NBRK, published Wednesday a report on a digital tenge pilot project and opened a public consultation on the potential central bank digital currency, or CBDC.
According to the report, the digital tenge would be a new form of money issued by the NBRK to enable the “further development of the national payment system and reduce reliance on cash settlement using unique technical features.” The bank emphasized that the CBDC is not intended to replace either cash or cashless payments, but would rather be an alternative used in parallel with existing payment solutions.
The NBRK noted that the digital tenge would improve competitiveness in the payment market, strengthen the stability of the financial system, as well as contribute to increasing public trust in state-backed payments. “The technology will meet the highest cybersecurity standards. […] The bank will pay special attention to consumer protection and the privacy of digital tenge users,” the NBRK stated.
The bank will first conduct a comprehensive study of benefits and risks related to a potential CBDC. In collaboration with financial market players and global partners, the NBRK also plans to define the digital tenge’s objectives, issuance and distribution methods, the applied technology, and the potential impact on monetary policy, financial stability and the payment ecosystem.
As previously reported, Kazakhstan authorities initially announced that the government started considering a national digital currency in July 2020 alongside plans to increase investment in cryptocurrency mining. Local officials subsequently pointed out the digital tenge’s potential to become a crucial tool in fighting corruption in Kazakhstan.