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Pakistanis owning $20Bn in crypto assets unrealistic: Former FBR head

Reports emerged on social media on President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry claiming that Pakistanis own cryptocurrency worth around $20 billion. Reacting to the claims, many experts raised questions on the accuracy of the figure.

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Earlier, the media reported that Pakistanis owned $20 billion in crypto assets. The claims came due to the recent statement of President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Pakistan’s crypto assets. The FPCCI head revealed that Pakistanis own crypto assets worth around $20 billion.

Addressing a press conference, FPCCI President Nasir Hayat Magoon said, “As per our research, Pakistanis have cryptocurrency worth $20 billion.”

On this note, he urged the government to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework so that Pakistanis can cash digital assets in Pakistan instead of Dubai and Singapore.

Read more: Legality of Cryptocurrency: Legal & Islamic Perspective

However, many experts raised questions on the accuracy of the figure. Former Chairman of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Shabbar Zaidi altogether rejected the figure by calling it “unrealistic.”

“USD 20 bn cryptocurrencies held by Pakistanis; totally unrealistic figure,” Shabbar Zaidi said.

On another note, he highlighted the “fragility and non-transparency” of undeclared assets.

“However, this reflects the fragility and non-transparency of undeclared foreign assets of Pakistanis. Policies from 1992 to 2018 in foreign exchange utterly destroyed Pakistan. Country is poor. Few are rich. Time to correct,” Shabbar Zaidi further added.

Similarly, former treasury head-chase of Manhattan Bank Azad Rizvi, while agreeing with Shabbar Zaidi noted that $20 billion is around Rs 3.4 trillion. However, according to data by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the country’s currency in circulation is Rs 7.2 trillion.

On the other hand, Economy of Pakistan (EoP), one of the country’s leading economic platforms also brought the accuracy of the figure in question. EoP stated that the amount of $20 billion is more than SBP reserves.

Not legalizing crypto any time soon: Fawad Chaudhry

While Pakistan may or may not have crypto assets worth $20 billion, the government will not legalize crypto-currency.

Earlier, Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry announced that Pakistan does not plan to legalize cryptocurrencies any time soon. He made the statement due to the lack of guarantee regarding digital currency.

“There are no guarantees behind the currency. We cannot allow the use of any digital currency just on the basis of its trust level in the market,” he said.

Moreover, Fawad Chaudhry also highlighted Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s conditions for cryptocurrency. The minister said due to FATF’s conditions, Pakistan cannot indulge in such a method of payment.

“We are also bound through FATF conditions to refrain from allowing any such mode of payment in the country,” Fawad Chaudhry said.

The federal minister also remarked that digital currencies do not offer a clear picture of their future value. However, he did acknowledge that the world will eventually need to evolve toward a unified digital payment system.

Read more: Waqar Zaka challenges Fawad Chaudhry to debate on cryptocurrency