FIA freezes over 1000 bank accounts being used for trading cryptocurrencies


ISLAMABAD – The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has seized bank accounts of 1,064 individuals, who are using them to trade cryopcurrencies banned in Pakistan.

The actions is based on a request made by the Cyber Crime Reporting Center (CCRC) in Islamabad after transactions worth Rs51 million were made by the individuals through various online exchanges, including Binance, Coinbase, and Coinmama, a local media report said.

The authorities have frozen the bank accounts of the individuals, besides blocking their credit cards being used to buy or sell the digital currencies.

The sale and purchase of digital assets are prohibited under the State Bank of Pakistan’s Circular No. 3 of the Banking Policy and Regulation Department (BPRD) dated 6 April 2018.

Despite a ban on cryptocurrencies, digital currencies continue to boom in Pakistan.

Last week, the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry President Nasir Hayat Magoon claimed that the value of cryptocurrency possessed by Pakistanis stood at around $20 billion.

Cryptocurrency is a digital payment system that does not come under the conventional banking system. When a transaction of cryptocurrency funds is made, the transactions are recorded in a public ledger. Cryptocurrency is stored in digital wallets. Cryptocurrency received its name because it uses encryption to verify transactions.

When it comes to cryptocurrency, Bitcoin immediately springs to minds of people. But there are various other virtual currencies that are expanding in the digital era, including Ethereum and dogecoin.

The cryptocurrencies dramatically gained fame after Bitcoin was introduced over a decade ago. Bitcoin continues to lead the field with its market capitalization of over $1.08 trillion.

Addressing a presser, the FPCCI president said that the valuation of the digital currency held by Pakistanis is based chamber’s research report.

Urging the government to introduce a policy to facilitate cryptocurrency transactions, Magoon highlighted that India has launched some rules in this regard.

Lashing out at the PTI government, he said that the benefits of reduction of oil prices in the international markets are not being transferred to people.

Last month, a research report published by Chainalysis, the crypto market witnessed a stunning boom in Pakistan as people in the country have started taking interest in the digital currency.

It added the market of cryptocurrencies grew by 711% in Pakistan in the past 12 months, becoming one of the strongest markets after the majority of European countries and in the Middle East.

On the other hand, the market in India witnessed 641% growth in the past 12 months. Besides, as per data provided by Chainalysis, in India, the amount of venture investments in the crypto sphere has also witnessed growth.

The report also names Vietnam as a country with fast crypto adoption.

Chainalysis is the blockchain data platform that provides data, software, services, and research to government agencies, exchanges, financial institutions, and insurance and cybersecurity companies in over 60 countries.

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