Uzbekistan has no plans to relax the ban on crypto payments, an official says
The Republic of Uzbekistan will never adopt a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin (BTC) as a payment method, according to a central bank official.
Behzod Khamraev, vice president of the Central Bank of Uzbekistan (CBU), predicts that local authorities will never allow people to use Bitcoin for payments and claims that BTC is not backed by anything.
In an interview with the local business publication Spot.uz, Khamraev argued that Bitcoin is seen by many as “speculative” and will never be equal to fiat currencies such as the US dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen or the Russian ruble.
The official pointed out that there are around 28 trillion Uzbek dollars in circulation, and all of that is backed by central bank balances.
“You can even see an inscription about regulatory obligations for paper money while crypto is not backed by anything,” added Khamraev. The official’s comments come shortly after El Salvador became the first country in the world to accept Bitcoin as legal tender alongside the US dollar on Sept. 7.
At the end of 2019, Uzbekistan officially banned its population from paying with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin by order of the director of the National Agency for Project Management (NAPM) under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The order states: “Cryptocurrency funds cannot be used to send or receive payments in the territory of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
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In April 2021, NAPM proposed legalizing cryptocurrency trading in Uzbekistan to allow citizens to exchange crypto assets for national and foreign currencies. The previous government banned its citizens from buying cryptocurrencies in late 2019.
The CBU and NAPM did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.