The Astana Financial Services Authority, or AFSA, an independent financial regulator in Kazakhstan, has taken a step towards licensing major cryptocurrency exchange Binance to operate in the country.
In a Monday announcement, AFSA said it had granted in-principle approval toward Binance operating as a digital asset trading facility and providing custody services in the Astana International Financial Centre, a financial hub in the capital city of Nur-Sultan. In a Monday blog post, Binance said it was required to complete the application process for approval, which the crypto exchange expected to do “in due course.”
According to AFSA CEO Nurkhat Kushimov, the move toward granting Binance a license to operate in Kazakhstan could lead to the development of a “vibrant ecosystem of digital assets industry locally and regionally.” Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao, or CZ, added that the exchange aimed for a “compliance-first” approach, providing products and services “in a safe and well regulated environment” globally.
In May, CZ met with Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at bolstering “virtual asset market development” in the country. Under the proposed framework, Binance would assist Kazakhstan in developing legislative guidelines and regulatory policies for cryptocurrencies.
Regulators in many countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and Thailand, cracked down on Binance’s operations in their respective jurisdictions in 2021, issuing warnings to potential investors and in some cases, alleging the exchange was conducting business without proper licensing. However, in 2022, Binance secured regulatory approval to operate in France, Bahrain, Spain and Dubai.