If passed, mining or owning the digital asset will be criminalised.
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
According to a senior government official in an interview with Reuters, India is poised to propose a bill that will criminalise mining, trading, issuing, transferring or even owning cryptocurrencies. If passed, it will be the strictest such bill in the world, surpassing China’s own ban of issuing and trading the asset.
In the last year, India’s cryptocurrency trade has grown by 500% since March 2020, with the average trade volume averaging around USD 22.4 million per day, according to CoinGecko. The proposed bill will be a blow to millions of investors in India – industry estimates say over eight million people in the country own INR 100 billion in crypto-assets. Although the proposed bill has angered many, it shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, as in January this year, the Indian government announced an agenda that called for the ban of private digital currencies, including Bitcoin, which passed a record high of USD 60,000 mid-March. Government officials have also come on record to call cryptocurrencies a “ponzi scheme,” although rumours abound that the government is looking to invest in an official digital currency in the future.
The bill will give investors six months to liquidate their current assets, after which anyone found dealing with cryptocurrency will be penalised, although the government official has not disclosed whether jail time will be included on top of fines.
Reuters reached out to the Indian Finance Ministry for an official comment, but they haven’t responded so far.
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