Pakistan’s central bank seeks blanket ban on crypto assets

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The government of Pakistan and its central bank are reportedly pursuing a total ban on crypto assets, likely disappointing the country’s multitude of traders benefiting from the nascent industry.

Citing a document submitted to Pakistan’s Sindh High Court, local media reported that several governors from the country’s top financial authorities, including the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) the Ministry of Finance, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), and the Federal Investigation Agency of Pakistan (FIA), have proposed a ban on cryptocurrencies.

As per Chainalysis 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index report, Pakistan ranks third in terms of cryptocurrency adoption, surpassing the likes of the United States and China. Despite such significant popularity amongst the country’s traders, there are no clear regulations placed on cryptocurrencies in Pakistan.

This is the first time the country’s regulators have suggested a stance on the emerging market. In 2018, the SBP prohibited banks from dealing with crypto-related services and platforms.

According to this report, Pakistan’s Sindh High Court had instructed the government in October 2021 to put cryptocurrency regulations in place within three months. The court had also set up an expert committee to define the legal status of crypto assets.

The report, thereafter, suggested that at least 11 countries, including Pakistan allies Saudi Arabia and China, have banned the usage of crypto assets. Apart from banning crypto, the report also called for penalties imposed on crypto exchanges to restrict them from offering services.

Recently, crypto exchange Binance came under fire after Pakistan’s FIA accused the exchange of being involved in a suspected scam that has cost the country’s investors more than $100 million.

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