Bitcoin fever bypasses Tajikistan

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Crypto assets are not officially used on the territory of the republic. The National Bank (NBT) claims that the circulation of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, in the country is not fixed at the legislative level, since they are neither a medium of exchange, nor a savings instrument, nor a unit of account. In addition, all financial transactions in the republic are carried out only in the national currency – somoni.

The first sprouts of interest …

The country does not yet have a single cryptocurrency exchange, not a single bitcoin terminal. And the population had a very poor understanding of digital assets until bitcoin set a new historical record, exceeding $40,000.

Only after that, interest in cryptocurrency began to emerge in narrow circles. And then social networks finally began to discuss this market. The first official information appeared immediately – a negative color.

…and the first arrests

At the beginning of this year, law enforcement officers reported the discovery of closed platforms where transactions with digital currencies are conducted, as well as the detention of the first suspects of tax evasion on income received as a result of mining – the process of generating cryptocurrency.

So, in the north of the country, four people were detained, from whom dozens of computers, memory cards and other equipment necessary for the extraction of cryptocurrency were confiscated. These citizens are suspected of tax evasion and theft of electricity in large volumes.

Representatives of the tax committee note: first of all, any entrepreneur is required to obtain a license or permission to engage in a certain type of activity by registering as a taxpayer. But at the same time, it should be noted that the legal regime of cryptocurrencies in the republic has not yet been regulated, and therefore there is no official ban on their use.

While neighbors are taking risks, Tajikistan is being cautious

The authorities do not even have preliminary data on the number of citizens involved in the purchase / sale of cryptocurrency. The regulator (National Bank) notes: due to the fact that transactions using “digital coins” are carried out via the Internet, it is practically impossible to determine the real owner of bitcoin, including among the citizens of Tajikistan.

The National Bank also believes that, from the point of view of public policy, the use of cryptocurrency by the population – due to the anonymity of many transactions – will increase the risk of dubious transactions.

In the meantime, in Tajikistan they are talking about risks, in neighboring countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan – digital assets are gradually gaining their niche in the financial market. In these countries there is a growing interest in cryptocurrencies as one of the investment tools. Against this background, more and more legal platforms for trading cryptoassets are appearing, and bills are being developed and adopted to regulate the circulation of digital currencies.

Tajik phenomenon

Bitcoin fever, which has swept many countries of the world, is bypassing Tajikistan so far. Experts attribute this phenomenon to the low level of financial literacy, the lack of a favorable environment for the development of technology and business, as well as low incomes of the population.

In addition, all the processes of introducing innovative transformations are considered by the relevant departments. At one time, this was the case with Islamic banking. It took more than ten years to study and adopt relevant legislative acts in order for the first Islamic bank to appear in Tajikistan. Now it is a common service in the financial sector of the republic. It is possible that in the future, cryptocurrency will become commonplace.

Interest is growing, but prospects are dim

In light of the big problems of recent years with the national currency (depreciation), inflation and the withdrawal of capital abroad, some experts predict a steady increase in citizens’ interest in cryptocurrency, because it can compensate for losses from inflation.

The prospect of the appearance of legal platforms in Tajikistan for trading crypto assets still looks vague, according to local representatives of the financial industry. This is due to a number of factors, including the lack of clear rules by which financial and credit organizations could work with a new tool (blockchain) and a lack of sources of cheap electricity.

And if the issue with the rules can be somehow resolved – for example, by studying the experience of other countries, then there will be problems with the supply of electricity, since it is spent in huge volumes on bitcoin mining.

Mining is not affordable…

The fact is that, despite the commissioning of new generating capacities, the republic still feels a shortage of energy supply in winter. In addition, the cost of electricity for bitcoin mining farms may become a stumbling block.

Today, the tariff for industrial and non-industrial consumers is 4.8 cents per kilowatt/hour, which is practically equal to the export price of electricity. In this case, the population is calculated at a rate of 2 cents.

It is very likely that mining farms will start to be created right in the apartments in order to take advantage of the favorable household electricity tariff. But experts in the energy sector of the republic assure that it will not be difficult to identify such cases, since smart digital electricity meters are installed in large cities and regional centers that can show the consumption of each subscriber in real mode.

…but blockchain is on the agenda

Representatives of the economic bloc of the republic say that the topic of legalizing crypto assets has not yet been discussed, but the state’s interest in using blockchain outside the cryptocurrency industry is very high.

The government of the republic emphasizes that the future of the national economy is connected with the use of blockchain technologies in the digital economy. And the first steps are already being taken: now the issue of establishing training in innovative IT specialties in higher educational institutions of the country is being considered. And blockchain will definitely be a priority.


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