The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has objected to the association of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) with a cryptocurrency unit with direct and indirect sponsors for the ongoing edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).The banking regulator said this was against the national stance on virtual currencies.
The cricket board has appointed Best FinTech Investment Coin (BFIC) as the official technology partner for the eighth edition of the PSL.BFIC is a cryptocurrency, which is strictly prohibited in Pakistan.SBP highlighted that Karachi Kings has signed 1XBAT as its titanium sponsor, which is an online betting platform that allows users to bet on a wide variety of popular sports.
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The central bank said in a letter to PCB Chief Operating Officer (COO) Salman Naseer that the sponsorship deal with cryptocurrency would entice viewers in Pakistan to enter the restricted domain of crypto and virtual currencies.
“It has been observed that PCB has engaged Best Fintech Investment Coin (BFIC) as the ‘Official Technology Partner’ of PSL Season 8.We would like to highlight that BFIC is a crypto currency and in terms of SBP’s BPRD circular No 33, dated April 6, 2018, all Banks/DFIs/Microfinance Banks and Payment System Operators/Payment Service Providers have been prohibited from dealing in/promoting virtual currencies.”
“This represents the regulatory stance of SBP on crypto currencies/virtual assets.Therefore, promoting a crypto currency through the event of PSL 8 would not only contradict the aforesaid stance but would entice the viewers of Pakistan to enter the prohibited domain of crypto/virtual currencies,” said a letter written by Yaser Arafat, Senior Joint Director of SBP on March 8.
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The SBP has taken serious note of Karachi Kings having a sponsor, 1XBAT, which is a surrogate brand for a banned sports betting website in the country.The SBP directed the PCB to ensure that these platforms do not offer any services in Pakistan and devise a code of ethics for its franchisees.
“Similarly, it has been observed that a prominent franchise of PSL season 8, namely Karachi Kings has signed 1XBAT as Titanium Sponsor.We would like to highlight that 1XBAT appears to be a surrogate brand of a sports betting website, I,e, 1XBET which allows the users to bet on a wide variety of popular sports such as cricket, football, basketball, volleyball, etc (sic),” the letter said.
“Apparently both these websites/domains are foreign controlled and thus any usage of their services by residents of Pakistan would result in an outflow of precious foreign exchange of the country.
Since, neither these entities, nor PCB has obtained any permission from SBP to take out of Pakistan any money earned by them from resident Pakistanis, any transfer of funds from their operations in Pakistan will be in violation of the Foreign Exchange Regulation ACT, 1974 (sic).”
“In view of the foregoing, PCB is requested to ensure that these platforms do not offer any service in Pakistan, which will result in outflow of funds from Pakistan (even through informal channels).Besides, PCB is also requested to devise a code of ethics for its franchises.Obligating them to abide by the laws of the land while selecting international sponsors (sic).”
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