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National Bank of Kazakhstan Takes Giant Leap with Digital Currency Launch

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • Kazakhstan's National Bank is readying for the launch of its central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital tenge, with the first transaction made.
  • The digital tenge will be supported by Visa and Mastercard and will enable offline payments and programmability for smart contracts.
  • The market size of CBDCs, currently at $100 million, is projected to grow to $213 billion by 2030, with many countries exploring CBDC adoption.
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Kazakhstan is preparing for the launch of its central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital tenge, with a senior national bank executive making the first transaction on Wednesday.

As the adoption of blockchain technology picks up pace, central banks have been working to introduce their own CBDCs. One of the common factors among CBDCs is the ease of payments and cross-border transactions.

Kazakhstan Buckles up for Large-Scale Digital Tenge Developments

The Chairman of the National Payment Corporation of the National Bank of Kazakhstan, Binur Zhalenov, demonstrated the first digital tenge transaction through a debit card linked to a CBDC account. 

Kazakhstan has collaborated with payment giants Visa and Mastercard to support digital tenge through cards. According to, Zhalenov spoke at the XI Congress of Kazakhstani financiers:

“Today [Wednesday] we will launch the digital tenge into retail circulation, and next year we are counting on the large-scale development of the platform together with our partners, financial market participants, more and more innovative services will appear.”

Elaborating on the services, Zhalenov said that next year, the bank will enable offline payments with digital tenge. Moreover, the CBDC will be programmable. Zhalenov further explained:

“Essentially, this is smart money that can be used in smart contracts, innovative financial services, secure payments with digital assets and much more.”

Read more: AI for Smart Contract Audits: Quick Solution or Risky Business?

While Kazakhstan is preparing for its CBDC rollout, it has taken strict action against the non-licensed crypto businesses. Earlier this month, BeInCrypto reported that the nation blocked Coinbase’s website, alleging that it did not comply with the digital assets laws.

$213 Billion Market Size

Along with Kazakhstan, many other countries are working on adopting a central bank digital currency. 

Recently, the National Bank of Georgia teamed up with Ripple to explore the CBDC’s use cases within the country. Also, the chief of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), Augustin Carstens, urged global collaborations among nations to create interoperable rules for CBDCs.

That being said, the market size of CBDCs, which is around $100 million in 2023, is expected to grow to $213 billion by 2030.

Read more: Digital Rupee (e-Rupee): A Comprehensive Guide to India’s CBDC

Market size CBDC worldwide 2023, forecast for 2030
Market Size of CBDCs Worldwide in 2023, With a Forecast for 2030. Source: Statista

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