The Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa plans to build two crypto asset mining farms powered by hydroelectric power plants.
According to a March 18 Reuters report, a minister overseeing Pakistan’s new cryptocurrency policy confirmed the plans. Advisor on science and technology to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s administration Zia Ullah Bangash said:
“People have already been approaching us for investment, and we want them to come to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, earn some money and have the province earn from that as well.”
The development is surprising, given that crypto asset mining and trading currently reside in a grey area in Pakistan and one would expect a government to provide clear regulation for an industry before deciding to participate in it.
Fortunately, at the end of 2020 local Khyber Pakhtunkhwa authorities started their efforts in increasing clarity in this nascent but booming industry more than the country’s government is doing. In December 2020, local media reported that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa authorities legalized crypto assets and cryptocurrency mining.
Beyond its own income, Bangash said mining and trading in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is happening all over the country. The provincial government is “hoping to bring this to a government level so things can be controlled and online fraud or other scams can be prevented.”
Despite Bangash’s province using hydroelectric power to run its planned mining farms, Pakistan’s concerns may be pollution-related: In November, the AP reported that pollution in the city of Lahore reached 12 times the recommended limit, making it the second-most polluted city, after neighboring New Delhi, India. The massive electricity drain—and resulting pollution—recently convinced authorities in China’s Inner Mongolia region to ban Bitcoin mining, even though it has one of the largest crypto-mining industries in the country.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s approach is in stark contrast to the position being taken by Pakistan’s neighbor India. As Modern Consensus reported a few days ago, Bitcoin’s (BTC) price dropped by $6,000 as new reports renewed concerns that Indian lawmakers plan to ban not only the trading, but also owning of digital assets.