New Delhi: Indian government is reportedly planning to propose a new Bill that will criminalise possession, issuance, mining, trading and transferring of crypto-assets including Bitcoin, Dogecoin and other cryptocurrencies.
According to reports, if this bill becomes law it will make India the first country to officially make all transactions – trading, mining and holding cryptocurrency illegal.
The move comes after Bitcoin witnessed a upward graph in its value after Billionaire Elon Musk’s owned Tesla Inc invested $1.5 billion in the cryptocurrency.
A government panel comprised of top lawmakers, in 2019, had advised 10 years of imprisonment for people who deal in – selling, holding, buying, mining, and disposing of crypto currencies.
However, the government didn’t revealed the jail terms as the discussions were in the final stages.
In 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) advised against trading cryptocurrencies citing the risk of increasing cyber frauds. Following which, in 2020 the Supreme Court rules against the RBI ban. “The court ordered the government to take a position and draft a law on the matter,” read a report.
As per reports, RBI in last month had once again asked for banning cryptocurrencies citing risks to ‘financial stability’ in the country.
People who are already holding cryptocurrency, ill be given some time to liquidate their assets, failing to do so would attract penalties. However, the exact penalties are yet unknown due to no official statement from either the RBI or the Government of India.
As per current estimate, over 7 million people in India have invested more than $1 billion in cryptocurrency, who would be hoping for a way to get their money reimbursed before the government imposes any stringent law.
While the news of banning cryptocurrencies are making rounds, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman clarified that there won’t be a complete ban on the cryptocurrency. “The government is not shutting all windows for cryptocurrencies, or blockchain, and fintech as yet. My view on this is that, of course, the Supreme Court has commented on cryptocurrency and while the RBI may take a call on official cryptocurrency, from our side, we are very clear that we are not shutting off all options,” she said.
Meanwhile, she was also quoted saying that the government is not closing its mind, “We are looking at ways in which experiments can happen in the digital world and cryptocurrency.”