This year, Kazakhstan has been showing increased interest in cryptocurrencies as evident in the country’s internet searches starting from June of 2017. A surge of terms related to cryptocurrencies were made by the country according to research conducted by Yandex – a multi-national company which specializes in services and products related to the internet.
A list of queries Yandex has compiled reveals the following topics as priorities of Kazakhstan’s users: crypto-mining, blockchains, and cryptocurrencies. The company also stated that locals were conducting searches using a combination of words that included “cryptocurrency”. Research shows that Kazakhstanis looked online for topics such as “crypto exchanges”, “how to buy crypto”, as well as “how to mine cryprocurrency”. This year, residents purportedly made fifteen times more requests on cryptocurrencies compared to the same period last year. ICO-wise, search requests included the terms “prospective ICO”, “ICO projects”, and “ICO support”. These requests were reportedly increasing since November of 2017.
Specific search terms used by Kazakhstanis also include the words “bitcoin”, “blockchain”, “crypto mining”, and “initial coin offerings”. Yandex similarly saw the following questions asked by locals a few of which include: “can a schoolboy work for bitcoin?”, and “what is a blockchain in simple words for dummies?”. Reddit users who were made aware of Kazakhstan’s interest in cryptocurrencies interpreted the news as a “success for cryptocurrency”.
Besides the interest shown by citizens, members of Kazakhstan’s government have similarly expressed interest on digital currencies, albeit illicitly. The country’s Ministry of Finance strengthened its security within its IT department after it discovered employees mining cryptocurrencies using government servers. The four employees worked for the Department of State Revenue and were caught utilizing the government’s most powerful servers. According to Kazakhstan’s Tengrinews, the country’s National Bank is looking to regulate the cryptocurrency sector. However, despite the discovery of employees’ illegal mining of cryptocurrency, no ban will be planned or implemented.