The Kazakh government has blocked access to Coinbase in the country, citing violations of a new digital assets law, according to local media reports.
Kazakhstan's Ministry of Culture and Information explained the move was related to cryptocurrency trading on the exchange that directly conflicts with paragraph 5 of Article 11 of its Law on Digital Assets, media outlet Kursiv News reported today.
“The Information Committee of the Ministry of Culture and Information received a request from the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan with a request to block the Internet resource www.coinbase.com, which violates paragraph 5 of Article 11 of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan On Digital Assets in the Republic of Kazakhstan,” the Ministry told Kursiv.
According to the provision, enforced since April, the issuance and circulation of unsecured digital assets and activities of crypto exchanges are prohibited in Kazakhstan, except within the Astana International Financial Center territory — a fintech hub in Kazakhstan’s capital city with fewer initial regulatory hurdles. AIFC sets forth an independent legal framework based on the law of England and Wales and is also drafted to complement the regulations of the Dubai International Financial Centre.
"As part of Coinbase's ambition to be the world’s most trusted and secure crypto platform, we strive to work collaboratively with policymakers and regulators," a Coinbase spokesperson told The Block. "While this particular matter is still being investigated, the fundamentals remain: Coinbase is committed to compliance in all jurisdictions in which it operates. We do not maintain a physical presence in Kazakhstan and had not received any notification from the Kazakh government prior to this announcement."
Binance, Upbit and Bybit licensed to operate in Kazakhstan
Crypto exchanges — including Binance, Upbit and Bybit — are licensed to operate in Kazakhstan, Kursiv reported, via an AIFC work permit issued by the Astana Financial Services Regulatory Committee.
The block on Coinbase falls under Kazakhstan’s Communications Act — requiring providers to restrict access to sites with prohibited content.
However, the government has shown some flexibility in the past, unblocking Interactive Brokers and NYMEX after similar restrictions against the companies — without an AIFC work permit issued.
The Ministry of Information did not explain the reasons for restoring their access.
Blocking reported since September for Coinbase and Kraken
Today’s confirmation of Coinbase's block from the Kazakh government follows earlier reports from a local Telegram community, Finance.kz, suggesting that most websites of foreign brokers and crypto exchanges from Kazakhstan do not open without using a VPN — including Coinbase, Kraken and other large exchanges.
Coinbase also faces ongoing regulatory challenges in the U.S. after the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against the crypto exchange in June, alleging securities law violations. Last month, Coinbase said the judge should throw out the case on the grounds that the agency is acting outside its mandate.
Updated with comment from Coinbase.
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