Crypto Ban: Pakistan Is Reportedly Drafting Legislation to Prohibit Cryptocurrency Transactions

Pakistan will reportedly attempt to ban cryptocurrency-related transactions and services. This is not anything new because the country has made similar announcements as far back as 2018 and even earlier.

Pakistan‘s Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghaus Pasha recently stated that the nation will never legalize crypto-related trading. But these are claims and statements made from the current officials in office, and of course this could change later on.

Pasha’s comments came during a recent session of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on May 16, 2023. This, according to several reports from local media outlets. Other officials in the country, including State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Director Sohail Jawad, appear to have supported this decision as well.

Pasha pointed out that banning cryptocurrency transactions was one of the requirements that was established by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Notably, the FATF removed Pakistan from its gray list in October 2022.

The gray list includes nations that FATF determines to be deficient in implementing adequate Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing guidelines, however, it could be the case that such countries are working cooperatively with the agency to address their issues.

The State Bank of Pakistan and the Information and Technology Ministry had reportedly been preparing the legislation for the ban of cryptocurrency trading, according to multiple reports.

It’s worth noting that FATF may not impose sanctions on non-compliant nations, however, its findings could have an influence on government and corporate policies globally.

At present, Pakistan’s economy is failing, and the nation is presently taking part in various bailout negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Due to these reasons, a clean report from the FATF might be a high priority.

Over the years, crypto and blockchain adoption in the country has been fairly high, with the nation’s residents holding more than $20 billion in crypto-assets as of 2021.

As most local traders are aware, the government’s stance on crypto is not surprising. The SBP was actually considering a complete crypto ban since around 2018.

Interestingly, Pakistan does intend to work on a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the coming years. In addition to working on a virtual currency project, the country has now integrated a national blockchain/DLT Know Your Customer platform.

Given the current socioeconomic challenges that Pakistan is facing, including the recent unlawful arrest of ex- Prime Minister Imran Khan, it is probably a good idea that cryptocurrencies are being banned. Local residents should be discouraged from engaging in highly speculative crypto trading that has led to huge losses for many people across the globe.

Although crypto supporters and enthusiasts claim that decentralized virtual currencies are an innovative breakthrough, the industry is full of scams and fraudulent activities. Moreover, the vast majority of crypto projects have not lived up to their high expectations during the past 5 years. At this point, it can be argued that crypto trading and investing is not worth the risk for countries that are already struggling (like Pakistan).

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