Kazakhstan Central Bank Marks Digital Tenge Pilot With First Retail Payment

The National Bank of Kazakhstan plans to implement a digital tenge by the end of 2025.

AccessTimeIconNov 15, 2023 at 12:58 p.m. UTC
Updated Nov 15, 2023 at 1:21 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

The National Bank of Kazakhstan on Wednesday kicked off a central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot, with one official marking the occasion by making the first retail payment using the digital tenge.

The central bank conducted the first issue of the digital tenge on a platform launched in "pilot mode," but with real users in the form of second-tier banks and their clients, according to an official announcement.

The CBDC platform is powered by technology that underlies crypto, testing automated and blockchain-based smart contracts for settlements. Participating banks have issued digital vouchers and cards to facilitate transfers.

Wednesday also marked the publication of findings from a project exploring the issuance of a digital tenge in Kazakhstan, and a central bank official reportedly demonstrated the first payment with the CBDC.

Global financial institutions have repeatedly called on countries to set up legislation and conduct research into the issuance of national digital currencies. Kristalina Georgieva, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said Wednesday that CBDCs can replace cash and offer financial resilience to economies. But major economies have so far shied away from making a decision on issuance.

Kazakhstan has been prepping for a CBDC since at least 2021.

"It is planned to complete the full implementation of the digital tenge by the end of 2025 by expanding its services, usage scenarios and the environment of platform participants," the announcement said.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Sandali Handagama

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

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.