The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reportedly has plans to ban all cryptocurrency transactions in the country, according to local Pakistan media.

News channel Samaa TV highlighted a document today submitted to a provincial Pakistan court compiled by a committee headed by Sima Kamil, a deputy governor of the SBP.

The document cites other countries, including China and Saudi Arabia, that have opted to ban cryptocurrency usage, and apparently urges the court to not only outlaw cryptocurrency activity but also impose harsh penalties against crypto exchanges.


Following China’s digital footsteps… or India’s?

So, is Pakistan the new China when it comes to crypto? A ban is yet to actually be put in place yet, so perhaps a comparison with India might be more accurate at this stage.

India seems to constantly waver this way and that on its stance on the industry. For example, its central bank prohibited banks from dealing with crypto exchanges, only to have that ruling quashed by the country’s Supreme Court in 2020.

And reports surfaced in India recently that it would likely allow the trading and holding of crypto assets but would ban their usage as a means of payment. At this stage, though, the Indian government is sitting on its hands, as it has been for ages, with regard to any firm crypto decisions. It’s no doubt a tricky thing to reach consensus on.

As for Pakistan, negative rhetoric about crypto has emanated from its central bank for quite some time, also including a restriction on banks from dealing with crypto exchanges back in 2018. But this is the first time its taken such a comprehensively clear position on the matter.

It comes on the back of a suspected crypto scam that supposedly cost thousands of Pakistani investors a total of more than US$100 million in December. Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) reportedly began a criminal investigation against the crypto exchange Binance earlier this month, alleging some kind of link.

As for the SPB’s idea of a blanket ban on crypto, the proposal will apparently now be sent to the finance and law ministries, which will then determine the legal status of cryptocurrencies in the country and conclude whether a crypto ban would be constitutional.

Maybe Pakistan’s prime minister and cricket legend Imran Khan will eventually end up embracing crypto. Hey, Damien Martyn… maybe you could use your cricket-circle contacts and have a word with him?

In the meantime, though, it all appears to be water off a duck’s back for the crypto market. It’s currently up 2.1 per cent, as a whole, since this time yesterday.