The tenge (, ; тенге́, ; sign: ₸ ; code: KZT) is the currency of Kazakhstan. It is divided into 100 tıyn (тиын, also transliterated as tiyin or tijin). The ISO-4217 code is KZT.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, attempts were made by most republics to maintain a common currency. Some politicians were hoping to at least maintain "special relations" among former Soviet republics, or the "near abroad". Other reasons were the economic considerations for maintaining the ruble zone. The wish to preserve strong trade relations between former Soviet republics was considered the most important goal.
The break-up of the Soviet Union was not accompanied by any formal changes in monetary arrangements. The Central Bank of Russia was authorized to take over the State Bank of the USSR (Gosbank) on 1 January 1992. It continued to ship USSR ruble notes and coins to the central banks of the eleven newly independent countries, which had formerly been the main branches of Gosbank in the republics.
The political situation, however, was not favorable for maintaining a common currency. Maintaining a common currency requires a strong political consensus in respect to monetary and fiscal targets, a common institution in charge of implementing these targets, and some minimum of common legislation (concerning the banking and foreign exchange regulations). These conditions were far from being met amidst the turbulent economic and political situation.
During the first half of 1992, a monetary union with 15 independent states all using the ruble existed. Since it was clear that the situation would not last, each of them was using its position as "free-riders" to issue huge amounts of money in the form of credit. As a result, some countries were issuing coupons in order to "protect" their markets from buyers from other states. The Russian central bank responded in July 1992 by setting up restrictions to the flow of credit between Russia and other states. The final collapse of the ruble zone began when Russia pulled out with the exchange of banknotes by the Central bank of Russia on Russian territory at the end of July 1993.
As a result, Kazakhstan and other countries still in the ruble zone were "pushed out". On November 12, 1993, a decree of the President of Kazakhstan, "About introducing national currency of Republic of Kazakhstan", was issued. The tenge was introduced on 15 November 1993 to replace the Soviet ruble at a rate of 1 tenge = 500 rubles. In 1991 a "special group" of designers was created: Mendybay Alin, Timur Suleymenov, Asimsaly Duzelkhanov and Khayrulla Gabzhalilov. As such, November 15 is celebrated as the "Day of National Currency of Republic of Kazakhstan". In 1995, a tenge printing factory was opened in Kazakhstan. The first consignment of tenge was printed abroad, in the UK. The first coins were minted in Germany. In February 2019, the President of Kazakhstan signed a bill into law that will remove all Russian captions from future tenge banknotes, as it is not a state language.