Bank Alfalah Limited (BAFL) has started sending SMS alerts, warning its customers against carrying out cryptocurrency transactions through its banking channels.
The bank opines that all virtual assets/cryptocurrencies are illegal and its customers should refrain from undertaking such transactions using any of its channels.
“Dear Customer, Virtual Currencies/Coins/Tokens, etc. are not legal tender, issued or guaranteed by the Govt of Pakistan and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has not authorized or licensed any individual or entity for the same. Kindly avoid conducting such transactions from any channel pertaining to Bank Alfalah,” reads the text message.
This development comes less than a day after the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) submitted a report before a panel of the Sindh High Court (SHC) to unequivocally state that cryptocurrencies are illegal and cannot be traded.
After reviewing the report, an SHC panel had directed the Law and Finance Ministries to conduct a joint study of cryptocurrencies and submit an inclusive report by 12 April on whether the said financial instrument should be banned altogether or allowed to be used as a genuine store of value based on an acceptable legal framework.
In the past few weeks alone, the world of cryptocurrencies has been rocked by a slew of regulatory twisters in Pakistan as local authorities seem to intensify crackdown against illicit financial streams.
Almost a week ago, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) issued a notice to Binance in relation to a mega-scam involving 11 Binance-linked applications, through which fraudsters looted over $100 million (Rs. 17.68 billion) from Pakistani investors. Another two weeks earlier, the federal watchdog seized bank accounts of 1,064 individuals who had carried out 2,923 transactions worth a whopping Rs. 51 million through numerous online crypto exchanges, including Binance, Coinbase, and Coinmama.
Sources told ProPakistani that credit cards associated with bank accounts, which had traces of transactions in cryptocurrencies, were blocked by multiple banks. Moreover, the bank accounts of individuals who had been using Binance P2P to buy or sell cryptocurrencies were also frozen.