Pakistan’s top investigation agency is looking to block crypto websites over fraud and money laundering concerns, according to a news report, less than a week after the country’s central bank recommended an outright ban on cryptocurrencies. 

Fast facts

  • Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director-General Dr. Sanaullah Abbasi said on Saturday the agency would approach the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block cryptocurrency websites, according to a report in Dawn
  • There is currently no regulatory framework for virtual asset service providers in the country to comply with global anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing requirements, the report said.
  • Recently, Pakistan launched an investigation into Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, in connection with an alleged US$100 million scam perpetrated by apps integrated with the exchange. 
  • 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.