ISLAMABAD - State Bank of Pakistan in an announcement posted on its website, banned cryptocurrencies in the country.
In the statement, the central bank said, “All banks, development financial institutions, microfinance banks and payment system operators, payment service providers are advised to refrain from processing, using, trading, holding, transferring value, promoting and investing in virtual currencies/tokens.”
What’s surprising is that PakCoin, which is the only cryptocurrency from Pakistan is now up by 60 per cent. The founder of the company, ‘Abu Shaheer’, believes the ban worked in the company’s favour as it generated more awareness about the use and benefits of cryptocurrencies. “The traders gradually realized that the SBP [State Bank of Pakistan] hasn’t (and cannot) ban cryptocurrency in Pakistan, which comes under the IT ministry,” Lahore-based cryptocurrency trader Majid Ali said.
“What the State Bank has done is it has banned banks from entertaining crypto, so if you’re not dealing via banks you [still] can own and trade virtual currencies,” he said.
Sources within the IT ministry have said that the government plans to formally declare cryptocurrencies illegal in Pakistan. “Even before [the notice was sent out to banks] the SBP had long clarified that it had no intention of accepting virtual currency,” a government official told *Asia Times*. “We have forwarded our recommendation for a ban on all forms of virtual currency trading, and proper legislation is being worked on.”
However, while independent traders continue to do business in virtual currencies, local exchanges dealing with cryptocurrencies have had to shut themselves down.