This is a big blow to Afghan citizens, some of whom have been relying on digital assets to preserve their wealth and feed their families.
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Afghanistan is clamping down on cryptocurrencies — with local reports suggesting that the Taliban have closed 16 crypto exchanges in one province alone.
Sayed Shah Sa'adat, who heads up the counter-crime unit of Herat Police, told Ariana News that the central bank believes "digital currency trading has caused a lot of problems and is scamming people, therefore they should be closed."
The ban is understood to apply nationwide — and according to Bloomberg, several crypto dealers have been arrested after failing to comply with the Taliban's orders.
Last year, Afghanistan was ranked 20th in terms of global crypto adoption in a report by Chainalysis — with a growing number of citizens embracing digital assets to preserve their wealth in the face of punishing sanctions, closed banks and currency instability.
Non-governmental organizations have been using crypto to ensure donations reach those who need it most — and digital assets have also become a compelling alternative for those unable to receive remittances from conventional sources.
The question now is how this clampdown will affect Afghan citizens, with reports suggesting that more than one million children are at risk of severe malnutrition this year.
Bitcoin's use hasn't been without debate though, with some Islamic scholars arguing that cryptocurrencies should be forbidden because they're akin to gambling.