Startup Central Eurasia News Digest

03 March, 2022

We collected the main news of Central Eurasia affecting the region’s startup ecosystem.

1. Kazakhstan startup TrustMe attracted investment, applying «game theory»

24 February, 2022. Astana Hub 

Kazakhstan’s IT startup TrustMe attracted $300,000 in an estimated $2.5 million. The company provides business management, contract and payment services for B2B, B2C and C2C segments. Game theory, devised by scientist John Nash, helps to assess the benefits that each side of the bargain will have. In the process of attracting investments «game theory» can be beneficial to both entrepreneurs and investors, therefore the next round of attracting investments founder Genghis Daulebayev plans to conduct the same scenario. The founder and CEO TrustMe announced that Seed Phase II of the $600,000 investment round will soon be launched. The invested sum will go to scale the startup across the country.




2. About 30% of legal crypto miners removed equipment from Kazakhstan

24 February, 2022.

Alan Dorjiev, President of the National Association of the Blockchain Industry and Data Processing Centers of Kazakhstan, reported the migration of miners abroad. «Digital farmers» were frightened by rising tariffs. Now parliamentarians of Kazakhstan are preparing a bill that will increase the price of electricity for crypto-enterprises by a factor of 10. Meanwhile, law enforcement has closed 13 illegal mining points across the country. The damage to Kazakhstan was about 20 megawatts. The most active perpetrators were in Karaganda (31 MW) and Pavlodar (22 MW).



3. Uzbekistan finished second in the Balatech International Olympiad

28 February, 2022. IT-Park Uz

The first phase of the International School Programming Olympiad, organised by Balatech, the creators of the Logo online programming game, took place. At the event, Uzbekistan managed to take 2nd place with 49 prizes: 6 silver and 43 bronze medals.

The Kyrgyz Republic ranked first with 102 prizes, the Republic of Kazakhstan with 14 prizes in third place, followed by the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Azerbaijan with 15 overall prizes. In total, 2,200 young programmers competed in the first stage. March 5, 2022, will be the second stage of the Balatech International Olympiad for 100 additional places.



4. Among the Central Asian countries, the project «Accessible Kazakhstan» is recognized as the first digital public good 

28 February, 2022. Astana Hub

The startup project «Available Kazakhstan» is a virtual map of the country, which displays information about the accessibility of public objects for people with reduced mobility. Since 2021 the project has been implemented by the Public Foundation «Tandau Foundation» with the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in partnership with Astana Hub. 

The Mission of Digital Public Goods (DPG) - Accelerate the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries. Public digital goods are open source software that is free for reuse, editing and sharing. The best-known digital good is Wikipedia or DHIS2, the largest health management information system.



5. Kolesa Group published research on the Kazakhstan IT market

2 March, 2022. 

The goal of the research is to find out how the IT market changed in 2021, how remote work affected productivity, and to find out how much the specialists earn today. According to the study, the average salary of the developer over the year increased by 49%. In 2021, companies are willing to pay one and a half times as much for entering the profession to beginners. The development profession is still young: 52% of respondents have had up to 3 years of service. In 2020, 61% of respondents had an employment history of up to 3 years. The companies are transforming - grades are increasingly introduced and courses are paid for the development of employees. Demand in the market remains high, and with it, the level of development of developers also progresses. 



6. The EU shut down seven Russian banks from SWIFT

2 March, 2022. Deutsche Welle

Under the sanction were seven banks: VTB, «Opening», «Novikombank», «Promoblasbank», «Russia», «Sovkombank» and VEB («Vnesheconombank»). Restrictions also apply to Russian entities that own more than 50 per cent of these banks. SWIFT (abbreviated Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) is often referred to as the payment system. But this is an incorrect notation. SWIFT does not make any payments. It is a financial transaction report service. One of them is the Chinese CIPS (Cross-Border Interbank Payment System). The second is the Russian Financial Messaging System (FSS). However, they cannot fully replace SWIFT. 



7. Blockchain instead of SWIFT and carbon footprint: what happened in the cryptocurrency market

3 March, 2022.

Analytics from the Business Information Center «Capital» analysed the latest event in the world cryptocurrency. For example, regarding the Bank of America, the author believes that the cryptocurrency market could, in theory, replace SWIFT – an international inter-bank system from which several large Russian banks have already shut down. Shutting down of the global economy should seriously accelerate the advent of blockchain to replace the obsolete SWIFT.  

The material mentions the environmental threat of mining. A scientific magazine «Joule» has published a study that suggests that the relocation of crypto-humans from China to Kazakhstan and the United States directly contributed to the increase in carbon emissions (17%). It turned out that miners in China used much more renewable energy than in other countries. Many Chinese miners had access to low-cost hydropower, now replaced by natural gas in the United States. In addition, coal-fired electricity in Kazakhstan is a little less «pure» than in China», – explained Alex de Vries, one of the authors of the study from Amsterdam Free University.