Pakistan’s finance minister Asad Umar has come out and refuted rumors that Pakistan is moving to legalize Bitcoin. A report from Business Recorder broke the bold claims that Pakistan is working on registering over 5,000 crypto exchanges with the national regulators as well as moving to permit crypto trading in the country. However, Umar has come out and slammed these rumors as garbage. Pakistan is slowly moving to adopt blockchain technology, but cryptocurrencies very much remain a taboo in the country.
Could Pakistan Follow India?
Pakistan and India are intertwined culturally and have both only been around for 70 years – since the British left in 1947. The partition where India ended and Pakistan began caused a lot of controversy – especially as the prize was Kashmir. Since then, Pakistan and India have fiercely contested the region and have been at each other’s throats since.
Despite this deep-set dislike for one another, Pakistan followed India in criminalizing Bitcoin and other crypto trading back in 2013. However, At the end of February India’s supreme court ordered crypto regulations to be prepared in just four weeks! If India makes the move to welcome Bitcoin with open arms, Pakistan could follow suit – but nothing official is on the cards yet.
Saudi Agrees Bitcoin Trading is Illegal
It isn’t just Pakistan that views Bitcoin trading as illegal, Saudi Arabia recently came out and declared the activity illegal and punishable by jail time. However, Saudi Arabia’s reasoning behind the move is slightly different – Sharia compliance. Bitcoin and Bitcoin trading contain some aspects that aren’t Sharia compliant – such as margin trading and fees for overnight positions. Saudi Arabia is happy to decriminalize the industry as soon as the government is happy that there is a truly Sharia compliant crypto exchange for its citizens to use – meaning the government is probably working on one.
The fact that Umar has had to come out and declare the news as fake news is a massive blow for the Asian crypto markets, and the pain is being felt as many cryptos fall into the red. However, the ban is likely to be assessed in the near future and we could see Pakistan changing its stance towards Bitcoin trading in 2020. There is no set date and with Umar’s comments, Pakistan will likely continue to throw shade at Bitcoin for months to come. It’s going to be a long road to legalization for Pakistani crypto traders.