Coinbase Blocked in Kazakhstan for Breaking New Digital Assets Law: Report

Issuance, circulation, and offering trading of "unsecured digital assets" is prohibited outside the country's financial center under laws that came into effect earlier this year.

AccessTimeIconNov 7, 2023 at 12:47 p.m. UTC
Updated Nov 8, 2023 at 9:13 a.m. UTC

Coinbase, the world's second-largest crypto exchange by trading volume, is blocked in Kazakhstan for violating crypto laws that came into effect earlier this year, the country's government confirmed to local media outlet Kursiv.

The Digital Assets law prohibits the issuance and circulation of "unsecured digital assets" along with digital asset exchanges that offer these assets outside of the Astana International Financial Center.

The government told Kursiv that Coinbase was in violation of this particular law, according to the report.

"The Information Committee of the Ministry of Culture and Information received a request from the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan with a request to block the Internet resource, which violates paragraph 5 of Article 11 of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan 'On Digital Assets in the Republic of Kazakhstan,'" the ministry told the outlet.

Kazakhstan took quick steps to put in place crypto laws that apply to exchanges and also address mining outfits after the country saw an increase in the energy-intensive activity following a ban in China.

Coinbase said in an emailed statement that while "this particular matter is still being investigated," it is "committed to compliance in all jurisdictions in which it operates."

"We [Coinbase] do not maintain a physical presence in Kazakhstan and had not received any notification from the Kazakh government prior to this announcement," the statement said.

UPDATE (Nov. 8, 07:17 UTC): Adds comment from Coinbase.

UPDATE (Nov. 8, 08:14 UTC): Adds further comment from Coinbase in last paragraph.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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Sandali Handagama

Sandali Handagama is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for policy and regulations, EMEA. She does not own any crypto.