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Buying Bitcoins in Pakistan

By: Alexander Reed | Last updated: 1/15/21

Due to legislation, it is no longer legal to buy Bitcoin in Pakistan. In this post I will review the legal status of Bitcoin in Pakistan and its implications on Bitcoin owners.

Buying Bitcoin in Pakistan Summary

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are illegal in Pakistan as of April 7, 2018. It may still be possible for Pakistanis to acquire bitcoins through decentralized exchanges or by purchasing bitcoins from foreign exchanges, however, that would be illegal.

  1. Bitcoin legal status in Pakistan
  2. Bitcoin popularity in Pakistan
  3. Bitcoin communities in Pakistan
  4. Conclusion

1. Is Bitcoin Legal in Pakistan?

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) banned all cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, altcoins, and ICO tokens, in April of 2018. The SBP ordered all financial and monetary service providers, including banks and payment processors, to cease any all transactions relating to cryptocurrency.

The SBP further warned that any transactions relating to cryptocurrency will be considered as suspicious and reported to the country’s Financial Monitoring Unit.

It is unknown whether this strict ban applies to individual use of cryptocurrency as well. If you own cryptocurrency or wish to send or receive it in your individual capacity, it would be best to seek the advice of a lawyer familiar with such matters.

It must be noted that Bitcoin trading continues in Pakistan, albeit in a peer-to-peer fashion via decentralized exchanges (DEX). As individuals would be risking the closure of their bank accounts if caught trading Bitcoin, presumably the majority of such trading is conducted via cash exchanges.

2. How Popular is Bitcoin in Pakistan?

Bitcoin was increasing in popularity in Pakistan prior to the ban. When this article was originally published in December 2017, Urdubit was the only Bitcoin exchange in Pakistan. However, Urdubit has since shut down as it can no longer legally operate within Pakistan.

LocalBitcoins weekly volume for Pakistan shows that trading activity has slowed since the Bitcoin price peak in late 2017 to early 2018, however it remains moderately high despite the ban.

LocalBitcoins Pakistan

Consider Google Trends data and the same trend is apparent; the term ‘Bitcoin’ achieved peak popularity in December 2017 but interest has since faded over the course of 2018. However, people are clearly still searching for the term, indicating ongoing interest.

Google Trends Pakistan

3. Main Pakistan Bitcoin Communities

While interest in Bitcoin continues to grow, there aren’t many Bitcoin communities in Pakistan as yet. Although there aren’t many forums to be found, there is a lengthy 80+ page thread on BitcoinTalk as well as several Facebook groups.

4. Conclusion

Bitcoin is no longer legal in Pakistan. The main local Bitcoin exchange available to Pakistan was Urdubit, but it is no longer active due to the legal status. Still, there seems to be some Bitcoin trading activity going, judging by Localbitcoins’ data.

Have you tried buying or trading Bitcoin in Pakistan? Let me know about your experience in the comment section below.

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13 comments on “Pakistan”

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  1. Waqar zaka is mining so try to understand that now you can mine with your pc or mining rig etc read the resolution passed bt assembly,,,,now waqar zaka is appointed as cryptocurrency expert by kpk government..

    1. Mubeer Ahmed

      if you very rich and riches you can easy to apply visa, you get free immigration in UK because you can afford that why

  2. You might want to update this article because in a legal case against SBP in SHC regarding cryptocurrencies, they clarified that they have not declared it illegal. You should read up on that.

    1. Hi Fatima,

      Well, you have to be cautious of such websites. See our article on cloud mining for more:

      I’m not entirely sure about your question. It seems to me, given how the ban was worded, that banks or payment processors could be in trouble if they helped you send your fiat money to such a site.

      I think you could conceivably find a way around the restriction, but given the legal uncertainties and the risk of cloud mining, I think it may not be a good opportunity.

      It would probably make more sense for you to earn bitcoins through online work, as this should not fall foul of local regulations.

  3. Is it legal to buy a bitcoins and invest ? I want to say that simply I purchase bitcoins and invest in online business etc is that legal?

    1. On April 7th of 2018, Bitcoin was banned in Pakistan. I don’t think you’ll get in trouble for holding Bitcoin or using it for investments (provided you keep such usage quiet) but you could be in trouble if you buy or sell BTC using a Pakistani bank. For more info on your local situation, you can check out the Bitcoin Pakistan site:

      Alternatively, contact a local financial professional with knowledge of cryptocurrency regulations.

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