Authorities in Kazakhstan have busted an illegal crypto-trading platform, seizing over $350,000. The exchange reportedly processed nearly $34 million in transactions through wallets on Binance, two of which were blocked during the ongoing investigation.
Digital asset exchange making millions in turnover closed in Kazakhstan
An illegal cryptocurrency trading platform in Kazakhstan, ABS Change, has been identified and shut down, the country’s Financial Monitoring Agency (FMA) announcement on Telegram. Three Kazakh citizens have been charged with running the exchange which has operated without a license since 2021.
During an operation in the country’s capital, law enforcement confiscated $342,000 and 7 million tenge (nearly $16,000) in cash. The entity had an additional $23,000 worth of crypto assets in two wallets on Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, which were temporarily restricted, the statement details.
According to the FMA, ABS Change transferred a total of $34 million via Binance. The watchdog stressed that its operations were conducted outside the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC). Only exchanges that reside in the financial center are allowed to provide crypto trading services in the Central Asian nation.
The FMA’s main goal has been to prevent “grey” business activity, including those in the crypto space, and the agency says Kazakhstan’s underground economy has fallen to less than 20% the last year. In January, the regulator took down several coin trading websites. In February, it seized nearly $188,000 worth of property, including digital assets, from a Russian national involved in these illegal operations.
After China cracked down on the industry, Kazakhstan attracted many cryptocurrency miners with its cheap electricity, but they were blamed for a growing energy deficit. Since the expansion of the sector, the government of Nur-Sultan has taken steps to regulate it and the country’s growing crypto-economy as a whole.
A law restricting mining operations’ access to low-cost electricity came into force in Kazakhstan in February. The legislation introduces a licensing regime for miners and requires them to sell most of their earnings on registered national exchanges.
Do you think Kazakhstan will continue to crack down on unlicensed crypto trading platforms? Tell us in the comments section below.
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