The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has formed a committee on cryptocurrencies that will decide whether or not the crypto websites are to be blocked.

According to well-informed sources from the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT), the Division concerned cannot issue an advisory on blocking cryptocurrency websites. Citing the Ministry officials, they explained that the central bank had already issued a letter to the commercial banks, asking them to stop dealing in cryptocurrencies. “The websites cannot be blocked on the basis of that letter because they are not licensed by the state bank,” they added.

Sources said the SBP committee, headed by Deputy Governor SBP, had representation from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), MoITT, and the Ministry of Commerce. The issue of cryptocurrency websites is likely to be placed before this committee and the committee will decide the fate of these websites in due course, they added.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Cyber Crime Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) sent, a few days back, a list of about 1,600 cryptocurrency websites to PTA for blocking. PTA had written a letter to MoITT seeking its directive with regard to the future of these websites. According to the telecom regulator, it cannot block websites at the request of FIA.

PTA has also written a letter to FIA to identify any law/rulebook under which these websites can be blocked. According to the regulator, the reference of law presented by FIA in this regard is very weak.