The Indian government has said it is leaning towards regulating cryptocurrencies rather than banning them altogether, commenting on a bill introduced in parliament to ban “private” cryptocurrencies.
Indian Finance Minister Anurag Singh Thakur said during a speech in the upper house of parliament this week that the purpose of the new bill is to curb illegal transactions with cryptocurrencies and prohibit their use in payments. He said:
“The government does not consider cryptocurrencies to be legal tender and will take all measures to stop the use of crypto assets to finance illegal activities or as part of the payment system.”
The Indian cryptocurrency community was alarmed after the bulletin of the lower house of the Indian parliament revealed information about the government’s plans to start considering a bill to ban “private” cryptocurrencies.
The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2021 prohibits the use of cryptocurrencies in India and provides a framework for the creation of an official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). However, the bulletin does not define the terms used in the draft law.
While the Finance Minister’s recent comments provide some clarity to the government’s plans, the content of the bill is still unknown. The Indian cryptocurrency industry has revived after the Supreme Court last spring overturned the RBI directive, which since 2018 has prohibited banks and financial institutions from providing services to firms working with cryptocurrencies.
According to the finance minister, the government is “actively” exploring blockchain to ” accelerate the development of the digital economy.”