India Is Getting Closer to National Crypto Clampdown



India is one step closer to clamping down on crypto. The country’s junior finance minister, Anurag Thakur, said yesterday that there should be more regulation of Bitcoin and other digital assets—and that a bill was being finalized. 

Thakur was referring to India’s plan to control digital assets. This includes a framework for a central bank digital currency (CBDC) but also a ban on the use of “private cryptocurrencies”—such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. The bill, however, doesn't yet go into further detail, and it isn't clear how exactly Indian citizens will be restricted in their use of such assets.

The legislative proposal, the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, is yet to be formally released. But Thakur’s speech made it clear that the government wasn’t planning to be lenient with its citizens’ digital stashes. 

“The existing laws are inadequate to deal with the subject,” he said, referring to those who own crypto. “The bill is being finalized and will be sent to the cabinet.” 

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He then added that there are “different definitions of cryptocurrencies or virtual currencies” before noting that it was previously discussed by lawmakers that there would be restrictions on using “private cryptocurrencies.” 

It is not clear how strict the new bill will be or what a “ban” would entail. Last year, a draft proposed up to 10 years of prison or fines up to $3.3 million for using decentralized cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. 

As last reported by Decrypt, a draft bill in January made no mention of a jail sentence. 

Though even if the government won’t be willing to put crypto users behind bars, the country’s lawmakers today made it clear that the country has no plans to encourage the use of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.


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