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Uzbekistan to Legalize Cryptocurrencies

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President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a new decree which states that Uzbekistan institutions should finalize a draft law to legally regulate cryptocurrencies, or “electronic money”, by September 1. The Central Bank, the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications, the Finance Ministry, and the Ministry of Economy have been assigned the task of preparing the bill.

In addition to the law, Mirziyoyev has also ordered respective authorities to set up a special Center for Distributed Ledger Technologies. This Centre is to be incorporated within the Mirzo Ulugbek Innovation Center.The main responsibility of the centre will be to “create conditions for using the opportunities of blockchain”. The new department will be working to “increase qualifications” and support local developers in mastering DL technologies. The centre is expected to be opened on June 1, 2018.

In an attempt to expand the use of international payment systems the President has called for the active development and also the promotion of contactless payment methods. Measures to achieve this goal are expected by the end of June.

This presidential decree represents a positive and welcome change in the attitude that was earlier displayed towards cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin.  Representatives of the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan had previously referred to digital coins as “instruments of terrorism financing”.

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