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A Would-Be Crypto Baron Plies His Trade in the Taliban’s Shadow

  • Timori says his firm is Afghanistan’s biggest crypto brokerage
  • Fears persist about whether Taliban regime will ban crypto
Timori, far right, and his staff at their office in Herat.
Timori, far right, and his staff at their office in Herat.Source: Habibullah Timori
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Cryptocurrency booms are often fueled by dreams of life-changing riches. In Afghanistan, buyers are instead snapping up digital coins in hopes of preserving what wealth they have -- and keeping it out of the Taliban’s reach.

In a white-walled office beside an open-air foreign exchange market, Habibullah Timori and his four employees are making trades for customers, using their Samsung phones. Chinese-made security cameras surveil. A sign on the wall says: “Kindly refrain from demanding a loan.”