Per Kaztag, which quoted the presidential press service, Tokayev was speaking at a financial sector summit held at the Astana International Financial Center yesterday.
The state-run center is already home to a number of crypto-related firms, including many that work in the mining sector. Kazakhstan, which offers industries relatively low-cost electricity access, also has cold winters – making it an ideal location for many miners.
This, along with a relatively pro-business approach to crypto mining regulation, has led to a growth in mining in the nation in recent years – with many bitcoin (BTC) miners relocating to Kazakhstan from China following last year’s Beijing-led crypto crackdown.
But it appears that Tokayev is not content with simply allowing miners to set up shop in the country and taxing them on their income.
The President stated that the nation “must make the most of” its “potential” in the crypto sector.
“Our country is the second largest producer of cryptocurrencies in the world. However, we should not just stick to the status quo, where we focus on [providing] raw [energy] materials. To this end, the government, together with financial regulators and the Astana International Financial Center, should create favorable conditions for the development of a comprehensive digital ecosystem.”
A number of top-ranking domestic and international officials from the financial sector attended the summit. Representatives from both the private and public sectors were present.
Tokayev’s comments come just a month after the President met with the CEO of the crypto exchange Binance Changpeng “CZ” Zhao in Nur-Sultan.
The duo spoke about “the possibility of creating a regional hub for the crypto industry in Kazakhstan,” Interfax reported.
Zhao signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovations, and Aerospace, with Binance and the ministry pledging to support the growth of the Astana International Financial Center.
The parties also discussed “prospects for long-term cooperation” in the “digital finance” sector and promised to launch “joint educational programs” to teach citizens more about blockchain technology.
Elsewhere in Central Asia, Uzbekistan has indicated that it too could seek to encourage miners to begin operating in the country – but only if they use green energy to do so. A recent governmental decree, authorized by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, indicated that the nation was ready to “develop the digital economy and the sector of the circulation of cryptoassets.”
The government has announced measures that will see miners forced to use solar power – and make use of their own power-generating hardware.
Crypto mining, the government wrote, must only be carried out by “legal entities” that make use of “electrical energy that is provided by a solar photovoltaic power plant.”
In order to qualify as a “legal” miner, companies must apply to become members of a national registry of approved crypto mining firms. Certificates of approval are valid one year after initial registration, after which they would need to be renewed.