Support independent journalism in Central & Eastern Europe.
Donate to TOL!
Kazakhstan launches what it hopes will be an incubator for digital money and financial technology startups.14 July 2017
“It is high time to look into the possibility of launching the international payment unit. It will help the world get rid of monetary wars, black-marketeering and decrease volatility [on the] markets,” Nazarbaev said at an economic forum in Astana, Kazinform reported.
Nazarbaev has broached high-concept ideas in the past, but this one may have just taken a first step toward reality. As Finance Magnates reports, the government-founded Astana International Financial Center yesterday announced the start of what is envisaged as a regional hub for cryptocurrency startups.
In geek-speak, the project will toss around ideas for “blockchain solutions” in the Commonwealth of Independent States. Blockchain – the basis for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as well as cyber-security systems – uses distributed databases and cryptography to enable secure user-to-user links and financial transactions.
“Kazakhstan became the second country in the world, after Japan, which recognized the need for the development of the cryptocurrency market system at the governmental level,” said Natalia Sheiko, a partner at Kesarev Consulting, one of the project’s founders.
The initiative is deeply rooted in the post-Soviet sphere: in addition to Kesarev, based in Astana, Kyiv, and Moscow, the partners include a Ukrainian law firm and the Russia-based crowdfunding platform Waves, while accounting giant Deloitte also has a finger in the pie, Finance Magnates says.
Blockchain seems to be booming. Investors have sunk more than a billion dollars into blockchain startups in the past few years, and the market is forecast to be worth $8 billion by 2024, according to the cyber-security news site SC Media.
Eastern Europe is very active in adopting the new technology. Last year the Polish Digital Affairs Ministry launched a campaign to promote the cashless economy and policies favorable to blockchain-based security systems, and conferences in Odessa and Lviv have publicized the use of such security systems in the region, SC Media says.
Near Kyiv, a fraudproof blockchain-based voting system is being tested, while a group based in Odessa is working on using the technology to hold state auctions in a more transparent way.
Going on Assignment in Prague – January 7-15, 2018
Do you have a passion for foreign reporting? Would you like to develop your skills further or simply gain more confidence? This course is aimed at university students, freelance journalists or activists who would like to gain some practical skills in this field. You’ll learn the best tricks of the trade from storytelling and interviewing techniques to locating your sources and incorporating multimedia.
Throughout the course you will be guided by experienced foreign correspondents from media such as Reuters, the BBC, the Financial Times, and the New York Times. You’ll leave equipped with a publishable story to add to your portfolio. Early bird fee available until September 1, 2017. Apply now! or see more info.
The Moldovan Diaries is a multimedia, interactive examination of the country's ethnic, religious, social and political identities by Paolo Paterlini and Cesare De Giglio.
This innovative approach to story telling gives voice to ordinary people and takes the reader on the virtual trip across Moldovan rural and urban landscapes.
It is a unique and intimate map of the nation.