Pakistan moves to bring cryptocurrency boom out of the dark

14

Once a week Ghulam Ahmed, 38, takes time out from his cryptocurrency consulting business to log into a WhatsApp group with hundreds of members eager to learn how to mine and trade cryptocurrency in Pakistan.

From housewives looking to earn a side income to wealthy investors wanting to buy cryptomining hardware, many barely understand traditional stock markets but all are eager to cash in.

“When I open the session for questions, there’s a flood of messages, and I spend hours answering them, teaching them basic things about cryptocurrency,” said Ahmed, 38, who quit his job in 2014, believing it was more profitable to mine Bitcoin.

Pakistan has seen a boom in trading and mining cryptocurrency, with interest proliferating in thousands of views of related videos on social media and transactions on online exchanges.

While cryptocurrency is not illegal in Pakistan, the global money laundering watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has called on the government to better regulate the industry. Pakistan is on the FATF’s grey list of countries it monitors for failing to check terror financing and money laundering.