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Russian users are welcomed by crypto exchanges in Kazakhstan, but there’s a catch

Some cryptocurrency exchanges continue onboarding Russian nationals despite the latest Western sanctions against Russia, but not without certain restrictions.

In late September, Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev witnessed the nation’s first regulated fiat-to-crypto purchase by a local commercial bank, the Eurasian Bank.

The transaction involved a local crypto exchange called Intebix, which allows retail clients to buy crypto with the local currency, the Kazakhstani tenge (KZT).

Intebix is not limited to Kazakhstani nationals, and the crypto exchange is willing to service foreigners coming to the country, according to Intebix co-founder and CEO Talgat Dossanov. He emphasized that Intebix’s crypto transactions are only accessible for card holders from one of Kazakhstan’s banks, such as the Eurasian Bank.

“Although foreign nationals are more than welcome at Intebix, they will need a local bank card to enjoy the crypto-to-fiat transactions,” Dossanov said in an interview with Cointelegraph.

The CEO noted that Intebix supports crypto transactions for verified clients only, while local banks carefully check each potential client on whether they are being sanctioned. Dossanov stated:

“Russian nationals who are not in sanction lists are welcome at Intebix, though they will need to pass a deep compliance check and open an account in Eurasian bank to enjoy the crypto-to-fiat transactions.”

Kazakhstan became one of the prime destinations for Russian nationals seeking to avoid being called up to fighting in Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization in mid-September. About 200,000 Russians fleeing mobilization reportedly entered Kazakhstan as of Oct. 6.

Major banks in Kazakhstan, including Halyk Bank, reportedly suspended the use of Russia’s payment system Mir amid sanctions warnings by the United States Treasury Department.

Apart from boycotting Mir, some Kazakhstan banks also stopped accepting payments from local branches of major Russian banks like Sberbank, causing them to sell their local businesses.

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