Finance Minister Debunks Bitcoin Legalization Claims in Pakistan

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Asad Umar, the Pakistani Finance Minister, has debunked claims that the country is moving forward with plans to legalize bitcoin trading, reports TechJuice. Despite not recognizing cryptocurrency trading, the country has in recent times begun to adopt blockchain technology solutions.

Bitcoin Legalization Not in the Works

According to TechJuice, Finance Minister Asad Umar says there is no truth in the claims circulating the cryptocurrency news scene of the country’s impending legalization of bitcoin trading.

On March 17, 2019, Business Recorder, broke the news that Umar had received clearance from Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency to go ahead with creating modalities for legalizing cryptocurrencies in the country.

As part of the now debunked report, the Finance Ministry was to begin the registration of the over 5,000 cryptocurrency brokers and exchange platforms. Umar’s ministry was also to establish a task force that would oversee virtual currency transactions in the country.

The Business Recorder report also claimed that the proposed regulatory framework would include protocols to prevent the use of virtual currencies in terrorist financing. According to the earlier report, such regulations would have begun rolling out from June 2019 with the final phase initially projected to happen by December 2019.

For now, cryptocurrencies remain banned in Pakistan. Back in April 2018, the country also banned initial coin offerings (ICOs) However, this hasn’t prevented the buying, selling, and exchange of virtual currencies in the country.

In mid-2018, reports emerged of increased cryptocurrency dependence in Pakistan as the country’s economic situation continued to degenerate. Like in Iran, more citizens began to adopt bitcoin and other digital assets as a means of survival.

Like India, Like Pakistan

In terms of politics, India and Pakistan don’t often share consonance, but the apathy of their respective government’s towards bitcoin and cryptocurrency, in general, continues to be something that both countries share.

In India, the country’s apex bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), banned banks from facilitating cryptocurrency payments. Some stakeholders have taken up the matter with a pending case before the Supreme Court.

While the approach in both neighboring countries isn’t entirely similar, the respective governments used the same rhetoric as justification for the ban. In both occasions, state officials pointed to the use of virtual currencies by criminals for money laundering and tax evasion, as well as the speculative and risky nature of cryptocurrency investments as reasons for the ban.

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