Fintech & Ecommerce

Kazakhstan Welcomes CBDC-Linked Debit Card

The first CBDC debit card transaction in Kazakhstan was performed using the Digital Tenge Card on the 30th anniversary of the Tenge, Kazakhstan’s national currency.

Kazakhstan Welcomes CBDC-Linked Debit Card

A new central bank digital currency (CBDC)-linked debit card – the Digital Tenge Card – was presented at the XI Congress of Financiers of Kazakhstan, dedicated to the 30th-anniversary celebration of Kazakhstan’s national currency.

The innovative payment instrument was issued by the Eurasian Bank and powered by the Mastercard network. Digital Tenge Card instantly converts funds to traditional Tenge currency. It can be used for payments anywhere Mastercard is accepted in Kazakhstan and worldwide.

The card complements the national CBDC wallet and can be stored in the consumer’s phone, watch or physical wallet. The link to Mastercard’s technology protects cardholders and merchants from fraud, providing the security and other benefits of the international payment system.

The testing of CBDC in Kazakhstan was led by JSC National Payments Corporation of Kazakhstan. The institution enables interbank payments, transfers, clearing and other activities of the national payment system in the country.

The Digital Tenge represents the third form of the national currency of Kazakhstan along with cash and cashless funds, which will be issued by the National Bank.

“Digital Tenge unlocks the potential of blockchain technology to create innovative financial services, ensures targeted and efficient government spending, and also builds a ‘bridge’ between traditional finance and the world of digital assets. Today’s launch gave a start to the development of the Digital Tenge ecosystem and in the near future, Kazakhstanis will be able to use the first products based on it.”

Binur Zhalenov, Chairman of the National Payment Corporation of Kazakhstan

The introduction will take place in a tiered manner. All three stages of the launch are expected to be completed by the end of 2025.

Expanding the 2022 pilot testing Digital Tenge scenarios, Eurasian Bank continues to explore several use cases for local CBDC, including wallet openings, QR transfers and loyalty program tokenization. 

Earlier, it was reported that Swift has advanced its API-based CBDC connector, linking the centralised cryptocurrencies with existing fiat-based payment systems, testing the tool with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the National Bank of Kazakhstan, and the third unnamed institution.

Nina Bobro

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Nina is passionate about financial technologies and environmental issues, reporting on the industry news and the most exciting projects that build their offerings around the intersection of fintech and sustainability.