The Bitcoin market of Kazakhstan is a newborn in the industry. In fact, it could hardly be called a market yet, as it consists of only a couple of enthusiasts working hard to promote Bitcoin and the Blockchain among the Kazakh people. Recently the first Bitcoin ATM was installed in Kazakhstan and in 2016 Kazakh enthusiasts plan to create a Bitcoin Foundation in the country.
Boris Komarov is such enthusiast and a head of the First Bitcoin Center in Kazakhstan. He told Cointelegraph about the current situation in the Kazakh crypto market and also shared his plans for further development of the market in 2016.
Cointelegraph: How many companies work in the Bitcoin industry at the present time? Are there any companies that accept Bitcoin payments?
Boris Komarov: There are several companies in the industry. And there are also 3 online shops and a lawful agency that accept Bitcoin payments. The First Bitcoin Center also accepts Bitcoin donations. You can check Bitcoin Map for more details.
CT: What problems are faced by crypto companies in Kazakhstan? Is it difficult to solve those problems?
BK: Actually, there are no problems as there are only a few Bitcoin businesses in the country. Though, there is a Bitcoin ATM which could be considered as business as well. And that ATM’s owner is obliged to pay a 3% tax to the government. It could not be called a serious problem but I don’t really understand why it is taxed.
The owner has his interest in Bitcoins and Kazakh government has no proper regulations for cryptocurrency. Moreover, it has no clear status in the country’s legislation. So I don’t think it’s appropriate to charge Bitcoin ATM without having defined its place by the law.
CT: Could you summarise your achievements in developing the Kazakh crypto market in 2015?
BK: We didn’t have any significant achievements yet. Less than 0.1% of Kazakh people try to search any information about Bitcoin via search engines like Yandex or Google. We had some increased demand when people started applying to our Bitcoin Center but this could hardly be called a consistent progress. I think it was rather connected to some news than to increased interest.
CT: What future do you see for the Kazakh crypto industry in 2016? Perhaps, do you have some plans or new projects to be launched in 2016?
BK: I foresee the interest of local residents for cryptocurrency will be increased gradually in 2016. I plan to continue raising Bitcoin awareness among Kazakh people and consulting everyone who would like to have some guidance to Bitcoin. I consult people individually via email or Skype. I also train experts to hold Bitcoin meetups for local residents.
I have another cryptocurrency-related project called Criptodengi. It has achieved quite a success as its geography isn’t limited to Kazakhstan. The project is aimed at helping Russian speaking people raise their awareness about Bitcoin. In 2016 I plan to issue a series of Bitcoin tutorials which help people get learn about Bitcoin, mining, earning Bitcoins, investing in cryptocurrencies and other topics relevant for now.
I also plan to establish a venture fund to attract investments to Bitcoin startups, as well as for other players of the market.
CT: And what about the government and banks? Do they treat Bitcoin friendly or not? Do you have any relations with foreign crypto markets?
BK: Financial institutions are forbidden to work with Bitcoin but banks do not block accounts of crypto businesses. Bitcoins can be bought or sold via bank transfers without any problems. You can cash the currency freely as well.
And the government is indifferent at the moment. They have more important problems to care about. And if we come back to the case of Bitcoin ATM taxation - I think its owner simply didn’t want to stand his ground persistently enough.
As for international connections, there aren’t any so far. Our market is too small to be significant. I think we need to develop the market within the country first and then turn to Central Asia.
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