The Indian government has proposed a new legislation that will see private cryptocurrencies being banned in the country while allowing the Reserve Bank of India to launch an official digital currency. The proposal has been delayed twice due to the pandemic and political roadblocks but it may finally be signed into law soon.
The proposed bill is titled “The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021”, which will be presented during the Winter Session of parliament that’s set to start on 29 November, according to a parliamentary bulletin. A meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 13 reached a consensus to stop “attempts to mislead the youth through over-promising and non-transparent advertising”.
The bill was actually listed for the Monsoon Session of parliament back in July, but was not introduced to avoid further confrontation with the opposition amid allegations of the Indian government’s use of the Pegasus spyware. While the bill will introduce a wide ban on private crypto, it will also provide an exception in cases that “promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses”.
The Cabinet has yet to actually approve the bill, which also seeks to facilitate the framework for the creation of India’s central bank digital currency (CDBC). Shaktikanta Das, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, has said that the bank plans to launch trial programmes of its digital currency as early as this December.
News of the bill’s upcoming introduction plummeted cryptocurrency prices by as much as 25% on Indian exchanges. Avinash Shekhar, co-CEO of crypto exchange Zebpay, opines that the government will likely opt for stricter regulations instead of an outright ban.
It’s estimated by BrokerChooser that there are more than 100 million crypto owners in India, the largest number of any country. Between 2020 and 2021, Indians had invested over US$6.60 billion (~RM27.7 billion) in cryptocurrencies.
(Source: The Hindu)