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Uzbekistan warns citizens to avoid unlicensed cryptocurrency exchanges

A government agency in Uzbekistan has published a list of unauthorized cryptography changes that Uzbekistan residents have been urged to avoid. Trading platforms collect personal data and are not responsible for cryptocurrency transactions, authorities warned.

Uzbekistan authorities on the blacklist of “unofficial” cryptocurrency exchanges

The National Project Management Agency of the President of Uzbekistan has identified a number of online platforms that offer unauthorized encryption services. During an internet surveillance campaign, the organization reported an increase in the activity of these “unofficial” exchanges of digital assets.

The entities behind them offer Uzbek citizens the possibility to buy, sell or exchange cryptographic assets without having an office in the country. They are generally registered in other jurisdictions and their servers are located abroad, but at the same time they collect personal information from residents of the Central Asian Republic, the agency said in a notice posted on its website.

Half a dozen cryptocurrency exchange sites aimed at residents of Uzbekistan have been blacklisted: webmoneytashkent.com, wmztashkent.com, wm-torg.com, uzwmz.com, blockchainuz.com, and bitcointashkent .com. Similar services are also offered through Telegram bots and groups. Their providers, the regulator noted, often remain completely anonymous and can remove a channel quickly.

Authorities stressed that this type of platform does not assume legal responsibility for cryptographic transactions between various parties and cannot guarantee their legitimacy. Furthermore, they cannot guarantee the proper storage of personal data or the preservation of confidentiality. The ad says:

The Agency urges citizens to be as vigilant as possible, to be cautious and not to use the services of these platforms, in particular in order not to be victims of fraud.

Uzbekistan legalized trading in cryptocurrencies in 2018, but in December 2019, Tashkent authorities banned residents from buying cryptocurrencies while selling them. The National Project Management Agency has now reminded the public that, in accordance with the Presidential Decree “On Measures for the Development of the Digital Economy in the Republic of Uzbekistan” and the country’s law “on licensing and notification procedures”, the establishment of Cryptocurrency exchanges are subject to licensing.

The government tried to encourage some encryption activity. In January 2020, Tashkent unveiled a plan to establish a national mining pool and the initiative was presented as a priority. The state also said it will establish a licensed cryptocurrency exchange where miners can sell their coins and has promised to create a blockchain voucher, as well as introduce tax breaks for cryptocurrencies. Uznex, a regulated trading platform operated by the South Korean entity Kobea Group, was launched at the end of the month.

However, in September of this year, a senior central bank official reportedly said that cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin would never be recognized as legal tender. Speaking to local media, the vice president of the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan (CBU), Behzod Hamraev, recalled that, unlike cryptocurrencies, the national fiat currency, the sum, is backed by bank assets. He also expressed his opinion that bitcoin will never equal “world currencies” like the dollar, euro, yen and ruble.