Authorities in Kazakhstan have busted an illegal crypto trading platform, seizing over $350,000. The exchange allegedly processed almost $34 million in transactions through wallets on Binance, two of which have been blocked during the ongoing investigation.
Digital Asset Exchange Making Millions in Turnover Closed Down in Kazakhstan
A platform illegally trading cryptocurrencies in Kazakhstan, ABS Change, has been identified and shut down, the country’s Financial Monitoring Agency (FMA) announced on Telegram. Three Kazakhstani citizens have been accused of running the exchange which carried out its activities without a license since 2021.
During an operation in the country’s capital city, law enforcement officials confiscated $342,000 and 7 million tenge (almost $16,000) in cash. The entity had another $23,000 worth of crypto assets in two wallets on Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, which have been temporarily restricted, the statement detailed.
According to the FMA, ABS Change transferred a total of $34 million through Binance. The watchdog pointed out that its operations were conducted outside the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC). Only exchanges that are residents of the financial hub are authorized to provide crypto trading services in the Central Asian nation.
The FMA’s main focus has been on preventing “gray” business activities, including those in the crypto space, and the agency said that Kazakhstan’s shadow economy shrank to below 20% last year. In January, the regulator took down several coin trading websites. In February, it seized almost $188,000 worth of property, including digital assets, from a Russian national involved in these illegal operations.
After China’s crackdown on the industry, Kazakhstan attracted many cryptocurrency miners with its cheap electricity, but they have been blamed for an increasing power deficit. Since the expansion of the sector, the government in Nur-Sultan has been taking steps to regulate it and the country’s growing crypto economy as a whole.
A law restricting the access of mining farms to low-cost power entered into force in Kazakhstan in February. The legislation introduces a licensing regime for miners and obliges them to sell the bulk of their revenue on domestic-registered exchanges.
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