A government agency in Uzbekistan has released a list of unauthorized crypto exchanges that residents of the country have been advised to avoid. Trading platforms collect personal information and bear no liability for cryptocurrency transactions, officials have warned.
Uzbek authorities have blacklisted ‘unofficial’ crypto exchanges
The National Agency of Project Management under the President of Uzbekistan has identified several online platforms providing crypto trading services without approval. During an observation campaign on the Internet, the company increased the activity of such “informal” digital asset exchanges.
The companies behind them allow Uzbek nationals to buy, sell or trade crypto assets without having an office in the country. They are usually 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 published on its website.
Half a dozen crypto exchange websites targeting residents of Uzbekistan have been blacklisted: webmoneytashkent.com, wmztashkent.com, wm-torg.com, uzwmz.com, blockchainuz.com, and bitcointashkent.com. Similar services are also provided through telegram bots and groups. Their providers, the regulators noted, often remain completely anonymous and can quickly delete a channel.
Officials insist that such platforms carry no legal liability for crypto transactions between different groups and cannot guarantee their legitimacy. Furthermore, they cannot ensure the proper storage or confidentiality of personal information. The announcement states:
The agency urges citizens to be as vigilant as possible, be careful and do not use the services of such platforms, so as not to fall victim to fraud.
Uzbekistan legalized crypto trading in 2018 but then in December 2019 Tashkent authorities effectively banned the purchase of cryptocurrencies even though they were allowed to sell. The National Agency of Project Management has now reminded the public that the establishment of cryptocurrency exchanges is subject to licensing “in accordance with the decree of the President and the law of the country” licensing and notification system “concerning the development of the digital economy in the Republic of Uzbekistan.
The government has tried to encourage certain crypto activities. In January 2020, Tashkent unveiled a plan to establish a national mining pool and the initiative was presented as a priority. The state further said it is going to establish a licensed cryptocurrency exchange where miners will be able to sell their coins and create a blockchain valley as well as promise crypto tax exemptions. Uznex, a regulated trading platform operated by Kobia Group, a South Korean entity, was launched later that month.
However, in September this year, a senior central bank official was quoted as saying that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin would never be recognized as a legal tender. Speaking to local media, Behjod Hamrayev, deputy chairman of the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan, noted that in contrast to cryptocurrencies, national fayat, the sum is supported by the bank’s assets. He also expressed the view that Bitcoin will never be equal to the “world currency” like the dollar, euro, yen and ruble.
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