Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has given the Indian cryptocurrency community a glimmer of hope as fear, uncertainty and doubts increasingly circulate in the country over the alleged impending ban on digital assets.
In an interview with India Today on 13. March, Sitharaman stressed that the ministry has no intention of stopping Indian innovations related to bitcoin (BTC) and the underlying blockchain technology.
For our part, we want to make it clear that we are not ruling out all options. We’re going to allow people certain windows, so experiments with blockchain, bitcoin or crypto-currencies. […] and fintechs that build on those experiments will have access to that window. We’re not going to close it, she said.
Sitharaman said the ministry is in the process of finalising the cabinet note on crypto as India continues to formulate its official position on the asset class. It is being finalized and then it will be presented to Cabinet. The Supreme Court has ruled on the issue of cryptocurrencies. We are very clear that the Reserve Bank of India will take a decision on the official adjustment of cryptocurrencies, she said.
After the Indian Supreme Court overturned the ban on crypto banks a year ago, reports of a new ban began circulating in early 2021. In February, another unnamed Indian official said the government planned to impose a total ban on cryptocurrencies and give investors up to six months to liquidate their holdings.
On Sunday, Reuters published a report quoting an unnamed senior official who claimed that India was preparing to impose a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies and punish violators with heavy fines. According to the bill, India wants to criminalise the possession, issuance, mining, trading and transfer of crypto assets, the source said.
Despite reports of the continuation of the ban on anonymous sources, Sitharaman said in early March that the ministry planned to take a calibrated stance on digital assets.
Nishal Shetty, founder of local cryptocurrency exchange WazirX, seemed optimistic about Sitharaman’s comments in a tweet, saying it’s time to build up India’s cryptocurrency community.
That’s it! #Bitcoin crypto will NOT be shut down.
CBDC does not mean that other crypto assets and utilities will be closed.
India, your time has come. It’s time to buy and win
Thank you @nsitharaman ji, you have brought joy to this sector#IndiaWantsCryptopic.twitter.com/mySjPkoyt0
– Nishal (WazirX) ⚡️ (@NischalShetty) 14. March 2021
The RBI and the finance ministry did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.
frequently asked questions
Will India ban cryptocurrencies?
India is reportedly proposing to ban cryptocurrencies and punish miners and traders. India will propose legislation to ban cryptocurrencies and punish anyone who trades or even owns such digital assets in the country, a senior government official told Reuters.
Will bitcoin be banned in India in 2019?
However, it cannot be concluded that bitcoins are illegal as they have not been banned in India so far. The Supreme Court of India, in its order dated 25… February 2019 asked the government to formulate a foreign exchange policy based on cryptocurrencies.
Is bitcoin mining banned in India?
So far, India has never officially banned the trading and possession of cryptocurrencies, but industry estimates put Indian investment in cryptocurrencies at around Rs. 100 billion ($1.4 billion). There may soon be an official ban on storing, trading and mining cryptocurrencies in India.
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