State Bank Bans Cryptocurrencies in Pakistan

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has warned the general public against using virtual currencies/coins/tokens such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Pakcoin, OneCoin, DasCoin, Pay Diamond, etc. on Friday. Any person found using virtual currencies/coins/tokens for the purpose of transferring money outside Pakistan will be subject to prosecution as per applicable laws.

The central bank also asked commercial and microfinance banks, as well as Payment System Operators (PSOs)/ Payment Service Providers (PSPs) to avoid facilitating their customers/account holders who want to carry out transactions in the form of virtual Currencies/Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) /tokens.

SBP’s circular says that these cryptocurrencies are neither recognized as a “Legal Tender” nor has SBP authorized or licensed any individual or entity for the issuance, sale, purchase, exchange or investment in any such virtual currencies/coins/tokens in Pakistan.

“Virtual currencies/coins/tokens provide a high degree of anonymity and can be potentially used for facilitating illegal activities.”

“Also due to the ambiguous nature of Virtual Currencies, no legal protection or recourse is available to any individual,” the circular added.


Did you know that many people are using cryptocurrencies to buy Instagram followers from Pakistan and to buy other digital services online?


Why Has SBP Banned Cryptocurrencies?

The ban on cryptocurrencies has been issued in light of the following risks:

  • High price volatility as investments tied to virtual currencies are highly unstable and are primarily based on speculations;
  • Failure/closure of virtual currency exchanges/businesses due to any reason including action by law enforcement agencies; and
  • Hacking/security compromises of cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet businesses, as a number of instances have been recorded around the world where a huge amount of funds have been lost due to the exchange/wallet operations being hacked/compromised.

Furthermore, fraudsters have also started offering pyramid style investment schemes and coins, promising high returns (similar to Ponzi schemes) to the general public in Pakistan. SBP believes that this can cause significant losses to the general public.

General public is advised that domestic and international payment and money transfer services in Pakistan are regulated by SBP under applicable laws. In this regard, no entity is currently licensed or authorized by SBP to offer money remittance services and products in Pakistan using virtual currencies/coins/tokens.

In view of the above, the general public, in their own interest, is advised to be cautious of and refrain from indulging in activities relating to mining, trading, exchanging, transferring value, promoting and investing of virtual currencies/coins/tokens to avoid potential financial loss and legal implications.

  • Ban ? I think circular caution general public as well says its not legal, If a payment coming from payza or paypal how SBP elaborate its coming from Crypto?

  • how can you ban a virtual currency? you don’t have a system which can identify the use of cryptocurrency, heck nobody have such system.
    its good to make it illegal and publish the awareness but you can’t ban it.
    SBP please make the Rupee Stronger then nobody will spend in crypto. the value of Rupee is F***ked!

    • They did not ban it. They banned the institutions under their management to not do any transactions related to crypto currencies.
      You are still free to use the anonymous cash printed by the state bank to do your transactions at a personal level.

  • I don’t think there is any ban. It is beyond the capability of any regulator to ban the development of block chain technology and related virtual currency transactions taking place world wide. So far the stance of SECP and SBP is right as far as it is meant to caution general public about the risk exposure in crypto currency and advise them to refrain from being taken for a ride by the hackers and ponzi traders and those who attract with high returns (fishing for those with appetite for risk and circulating news about others having made fortunes from crypto). The advise when compared with the size of the issue is like peanut. Yet something is better than nothing.

  • Better SBP go for roadshows in USA, UK to grab money with maximum Interest rate, like previously done.
    SBP failed to control poverty level in Pakistan.

      • Through monetary policy that keeps the PKR from devaluing the way that it has been. The entire world is getting behind crypto as they understand it’s potential. New enterprises are being created that will replace the tech giants of today and it seems that Pakistan wants no part in it. Really too bad…regulate it and let it grow!

  • ye sale mulk ko taraki nahi karne den gy khud to kamane k koi moke dete nahi ban laga lo hukam ka time bhi agaya hai Allah tum logo ko kabhi maaf nahi karega ga logo se rozgar chintay hain

  • Bitcoin is future. First these so called bankers need to distinguish between Bitcoin (A real decentralized cryptocurrency) and OneCoin (A fraud ponzi cryptocurrency). They don’t even know the difference and are issuing the statements.

    Banks are afraid because of power Bitcoin holds. Their business model will vanish in few decades. People’s currency powered by people is coming to take charge of world’s financial system.

  • you people are stupid dont know the level of danger in virtual currency it opened a door of hundi and state bank must take steps against this because any body can make its black a white and transfer it to other country and it cause a hide criminals and their earning gov should give license to the specific people who can transfer and exchange real wealth in virtual

    • it is more anonymous to use paper cash than crypto in the real world for illegal transactions.

      Imagine trying to buy guns and drugs with crypto. Way easier using physical cash.

  • this should be regulate in Pakistan. the reason that SBP provide is not valid. if you look at first one.
    price fluctuation i think SBP should bannd stock exchange too. second one regulation is not the responsibility of general public its the responsibility of SBP. third one is hacking lot of people faced atm fraud in pakistan. SBP should bannd ATM card or bank too. pakistani govt and SBP should not be close their eyes to see a cat like a pigeon. its future.
    this is my opinion. govt and SBP know better what they are doing.

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