Pakistan’s central bank has recommended that all cryptocurrencies should be officially banned in the country, according to multiple local media reports, in response to an ongoing lawsuit before a provincial high court. 

Fast facts

  • In a report submitted on Wednesday to the Sindh High Court, which is hearing a case on cryptocurrencies, the central bank recommended penalties against crypto exchanges, according to Samaa TV
  • The High Court ordered the report, which was also endorsed by the Pakistani federal government, to be sent to the finance and law ministries for review and decision.
  • Pakistan’s central bank had weighed in on the status of cryptocurrencies back in April 2018, when it asked banks to refrain from trading or investing in them. 
  • Despite existing in a legal gray zone, cryptocurrencies remain popular in the country, with the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry stating last year that Pakistanis collectively owned over US$20 billion in digital assets.
  • In fact, the case before the Sindh High Court that precipitated the central bank recommendation was brought by YouTuber and crypto influencer Waqar Zaka, who asked the court to officially legalize digital assets due to their widespread adoption in the country.