Uzbekistan issues 2 new digital banking licenses

Uzbekistan’s National Agency for Perspective Projects (NAPP) has granted approval to two private banks, Kapital Bank and Ravnaq Bank, allowing them to participate in the digital sandbox dedicated to crypto regulation. These banks are set to introduce plastic crypto cards, utilising the technology of Mastercard.

On August 14, NAPP officially confirmed the inclusion of Ravnaq Bank in its pilot program. Preceding this, in May 2023, the agency had already given the green light for Kapital Bank to launch its own crypto card.

The forthcoming Uzbeki crypto card, named UzNEX, will seamlessly integrate a bank account with access to a crypto exchange and automated exchange services. This initiative will be underpinned by the prowess of Mastercard, a globally recognised leader in the payment systems realm.

Both Kapital Bank and Ravnaq are expected to fully roll out their crypto card services to customers by the close of December 2023. These two banks are currently among the three registered participants engaged in Uzbekistan’s national digital sandbox program.

Starting from 2023, the Uzbekistani government has imposed restrictions on the provision of crypto-related services, reserving them exclusively for licensed cryptocurrency firms. The initial licenses were granted to local crypto entities in November 2022. Prior to this, the country had imposed limitations on access to various prominent international crypto exchanges, including Binance, FTX, and Huobi, due to allegations of unauthorised activities.

The regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies in the nation was set in motion by a presidential decree in 2022, leading to the establishment of NAPP to oversee the digital assets sector. This decree also incorporated comprehensive legal guidelines pertaining to cryptocurrency mining operations conducted within Uzbekistan.

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