The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), one of Pakistan's four provinces, announced the launch of two state-owned Bitcoin mining farms last week.
The novelty marks one of the first instances of a government using its own funds to extract (and make a profit) Bitcoin. Ziaullah Bangash, an adviser to the KP's chief minister in information technology, said a bill that supported these operations had been passed by the provincial parliament. A separate certificate of no objection was also approved, allowing individuals to issue their own cryptocurrencies without concern for lack of legal clarity.
Pakistan's stance on Bitcoin is similar to that of other countries that had to be creative in seeking solutions to their financial problems, either to create new sources of income or to circumvent sanctions.
Resorting to Bitcoin mining as a source of income and economic growth is not entirely unprecedented. Last year, Iran's central government said it would buy Bitcoin from miners in the country to finance imports and facilitate trade. In both cases, these governments are taking advantage of a window that can transform their economies and the lives of their citizens, bringing security and prosperity through technology.