Kazakhstan Teases First-Ever Retail Transaction Through Limited Pilot Program


It is anticipated that by 2025, the digital tenge will be used in cross-border trading by Kazakhstan’s NPC.

On November 15th, the digital tenge, the central bank digital currency (CBDC) of Kazakhstan, was formally released. It is working inside a “limited environment with real users.” Working with customers of lower-tier banks, the National Bank of Kazakhstan launched the trial period.

Authorities in the Central Asian nation began developing a CBDC in February of this year, but the idea had been floating about since 2021.

It was a watershed moment when Binur Zhalenov, Chairman of Kazakhstan’s National Payment Corporation (NPC), made the first retail purchase with the digital tenge using a debit card connected to the CBDC account.

To facilitate the introduction of digital tenge onto cards, Kazakhstan has enlisted the help of payment behemoths Visa and Mastercard. During his speech on November 25th at Almaty’s XI Congress of Finance, Zhalenov said,

“Today, the digital tenge will be released into circulation for retail purchase. Next year, we aim to develop the platform on a large scale with our partners and participants in the financial market. We anticipate the launch of more and more innovative services.”

Zhalenov emphasized the digital tenge’s adaptability for uses such as digital asset trades, smart contracts, and financial services. Deploying offline payment capabilities in 2024 and incorporating cross-border commerce by 2025 are the future goals of CBDC development.

In a nutshell, the digital tenge is expected to finish its full rollout—including more services, more application scenarios, and more platform participants—by the end of 2025.

Several nations are preparing to launch digital versions of their legal tenders, and studies predict that CBDC payments will be worth $213 billion per year by 2030, up from $100 million in 2023.

Expected to be deployed in 2024, the central bank digital currency (CBDC) produced by Banco Central do Brasil aims to improve financial services in the nation.

In contrast, digital Euro is expected to be completed by the year’s end 2025. The project’s transition from the research phase, which lasted two years, to the planning phase was recently approved by the ECB Governing Council.

The National Bank of Georgia (NBG) announced earlier this month that the Digital Lari (GEL) pilot project will be collaborating with blockchain technology provider Ripple.

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