Pakistan Introducing Regulations, Licensing Scheme for Crypto Firms

The government of Pakistan is putting in place regulations that will see digital currency firms licensed to combat illicit uses of the technology.

Apr 1, 2019 at 12:05 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 9:02 a.m. UTC

Pakistan is putting in place regulations for the cryptocurrency industry.

The Express Tribune, citing finance ministry sources, reported Monday that the nation's federal government has decided to bring in Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs) regulations following recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

According to the new framework from the country's central bank, the State Bank of Pakistan, EMIs must meet certain requirements to be licensed by the country’s government, with firms that do not follow rules facing suspension or cancellation of licenses.

Companies would have to meet capital requirements, undergo scrutiny of executives, take measure to protect users' funds and carry out customer due diligence, including storing personal details such as name, ID card number, address and telephone number.

Pakistan is introducing the rules to encourage payments innovation and "promote financial inclusion" in the nation, the State Bank said in a statement.

A ceremony will be held at the Islamabad office of the State Bank of Pakistan Monday, to welcome in the new rules, The Express Tribune says.

FATF, a global money-laundering watchdog, has warned that cryptocurrency poses a risk for money laundering and terrorist financing several times in the past. The watchdog is also expected to publish rules for international cryptocurrency regulation by June.

The task force said last October that global jurisdictions will have to bring into force licensing schemes for crypto exchanges. Digital wallet providers and companies offering financial services for initial coin offerings (ICOs) will also be included under the new rules.

“There is an urgent need for all countries to take coordinated action to prevent the use of virtual assets for crime and terrorism,” FATF said at the time.

In February, FATF reportedly said that Pakistan has made only “limited progress” on curbing money laundering and terrorism financing, adding that it would continue to work with the country to fight such illegal activities.

Edit (09:20 UTC, April 2, 2019): Added link to new regulations and comment from the central bank – both of which were made available after this article was published.

Pakistan flag image via Shutterstock

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