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Today in the economy of Kazakhstan, there exist both cash and non-cash money: banknotes and coins belong to cash, while non-cash money includes funds in bank accounts. The National Bank is developing the third form of the national currency – the digital tenge. The decision on its launch is planned to be made at the end of this year.
The digital tenge will be widely accepted as legal tender and perform all functions of traditional money for all economic entities. According to the project, the digital tenge will be issued in the form of a unique digital sequence (tokens) or electronic records stored on special electronic wallets. From the perspective of payment technologies, various familiar options will be available, and a fundamentally new payment solution will be implemented – offline payments, meaning payments using a mobile phone without an internet connection.

The digital tenge will only be issued by the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan and will be its obligation. In other words, trust in the digital tenge is ensured by the guarantee of the National Bank. For comparison: electronic money is issued and circulated within a specific electronic money system and is an obligation of the system owner, while stablecoins and cryptocurrencies, despite similar technological approaches, cannot perform all the functions of money as a medium of exchange, store of value, and unit of account. They lack a single issuer who could guarantee the protection of holders' interests, and their value is subject to fluctuations.

The National Bank is building and developing the National Payment System so that all participants in the payment turnover in the republic can have access to cheap, fast, convenient, and secure payments.
The infrastructure of the digital tenge will become an additional tool for participants in the financial market, using which they can create innovative services. The digital tenge will also promote further penetration of non-cash payments in regions and increase the availability of financial services. In the long term, the introduction of the digital tenge will increase the efficiency of cross-border payments.
The digital tenge platform also provides the opportunity for programmability at the token level of the national currency, opening up wide possibilities for improving the efficiency, speed, and transparency of government-involved settlements.
A detailed description of potential benefits and risks from the implementation is available in the National Bank's report.

From the infrastructure perspective, the digital tenge platform will combine distributed ledger technology (blockchain) with traditional approaches. The final implementation model will be determined based on the results of a pilot project, prioritizing the acceleration and cost reduction of payments in the country. For end-users, there won't be a significant difference in calculations compared to current payment forms – digital tenge transactions will be accessible through existing payment instruments such as mobile apps, QR codes, NFC, but new possibilities will emerge, particularly the ability to make offline payments.

The National Bank's priority is a competitive and innovative payment market where market participants play a key role. The National Bank will provide the infrastructure for using the digital tenge, and final payment or other services will be provided by market participants.

No, the technology of the digital tenge is primarily focused on efficient and secure payments, ensuring complete consumer protection in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Architectural solutions will be implemented in the digital tenge infrastructure to ensure the anonymity of payments. Approaches will be employed to counter fraud, illegal money circulation, and combat the financing of unlawful activities, ensuring the protection of citizens' interests.

The National Bank adopts a balanced approach between ensuring transaction anonymity and combating fraud, money laundering, and terrorism financing. Within the technological prototype of the digital tenge platform, approaches to "controlled anonymity" have been developed, where the degree of anonymity depends on the transaction's risk level based on a set of criteria (amount, counterparties, etc.). This approach will be facilitated by the use of distributed ledger technology, which eliminates the human factor. Additional research is being conducted on methodological and technological aspects. Work is also underway to minimize other cybersecurity risks related to countering the threats of "double spending" of digital tenge tokens, ensuring seamless and secure offline operation.
To mitigate potential risks, enhance capabilities, and incorporate global expertise, the National Bank collaborates with organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, Bank for International Settlements, FATF, as well as market participants and the independent expert community.

With the introduction of the third form of the national currency, all types of money in the country will remain equivalent. In other words, 1 digital tenge will be equal to 1 tenge in cash or non-cash form. Money owners will have the option of freely converting from digital to non-cash or cash form at any time. The National Bank does not consider the accrual of interest on digital tenge accounts.

A final decision on the issuance of the digital tenge has not been made yet. This topic requires a comprehensive analysis and examination of all potential benefits and risks for business participants, as well as from the perspective of monetary and credit policy and financial stability.
In 2021, the National Bank initiated a pilot project to assess technological and operational risks, held discussions with market participants and the expert community, and engaged with international partners. The results of this research are published on the National Bank's website.
This year, collaborative work with market participants is underway to expand the technological prototype of the platform, conduct quantitative and economic research, and assess regulatory aspects. All interested parties are invited to contribute to this work. The launch of the Digital Tenge Hub collaborative platform is expected in the second quarter of 2022. In July 2022, the National Bank plans to publish a model assessing benefits and costs, based on which a final decision on the need for the implementation of the digital tenge will be made by the end of the year.