The State of Cryptocurrency in Pakistan: Understanding the Ban and Regulatory Landscape


Cryptocurrencies have emerged as a global financial phenomenon, captivating the attention of investors, governments, and individuals worldwide. While some countries have embraced digital currencies, others have taken a cautious or restrictive approach to their adoption. Pakistan, like many other nations, has been navigating the complexities of cryptocurrency regulation, leading to questions about its status and potential ban. In this blog, we will explore the current state of cryptocurrency in Pakistan, shedding light on the ban and the regulatory landscape surrounding digital assets in the country.

Cryptocurrency Ban in Pakistan

As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the situation regarding cryptocurrency regulation in Pakistan was characterized by ambiguity. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the country’s central bank, had not endorsed or recognized cryptocurrencies as legal tender. Consequently, financial institutions were discouraged from dealing with digital currencies, and cryptocurrency transactions were not formally regulated.

The 2018 Circular

In April 2018, the SBP issued a circular prohibiting banks and financial institutions from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions. The circular cited concerns about potential money laundering, terrorism financing, and other illegal activities associated with cryptocurrencies. This move effectively placed a de facto ban on the use of digital assets for transactions within the formal banking system.

Regulatory Landscape

While the 2018 circular imposed restrictions on cryptocurrency transactions through regulated financial channels, it did not explicitly criminalize or ban individuals from owning or trading cryptocurrencies. As a result, peer-to-peer trading and ownership of digital assets continued to exist within the country, albeit without regulatory oversight.

Peer-to-Peer Trading and Individual Ownership

Despite the restrictions on formal financial channels, individuals in Pakistan continued to engage in peer-to-peer trading and own cryptocurrencies. Platforms facilitating direct exchanges between individuals gained popularity, providing an alternative means for people to access and trade digital assets.

Future Prospects

The future of cryptocurrency in Pakistan remains uncertain, as the government and regulatory authorities continue to evaluate the risks and benefits associated with digital assets. There have been discussions among policymakers and stakeholders about the potential for introducing regulations that strike a balance between protecting consumers and preventing illicit activities while also fostering innovation in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space.

Potential Regulation and Innovation

In light of evolving global trends and technological advancements, there are discussions about the possibility of introducing regulations that address the risks associated with cryptocurrencies while nurturing innovation in the blockchain space. Policymakers are exploring ways to harness the potential benefits of digital assets while safeguarding the interests of consumers and the integrity of the financial system.


As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, Pakistan had not officially banned cryptocurrencies. However, the State Bank of Pakistan’s circular in 2018 effectively discouraged regulated financial institutions from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions. Despite this, individual ownership and peer-to-peer trading of digital assets continued to exist in the country.

It’s essential to keep in mind that the cryptocurrency landscape is dynamic and subject to change. Policymakers worldwide are continually reevaluating their approach to cryptocurrencies, driven by technological advancements and changing global trends. For the most up-to-date information on the status of cryptocurrencies in Pakistan, it is crucial to refer to official government statements and regulatory updates beyond my knowledge cutoff date.

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