In response to a public inquiry, India’s Minister of State for Finance, Anurag Thakur, has declared that there is no current stay on the use or trade of cryptocurrency in the country.
This comes as big news to the Indian cryptocurrency community after months of rumors suggesting that the government was planning a blanket ban on all cryptocurrencies.
The Future of Cryptocurrency in India
Thakur denied claims that the Indian Government has taken any steps to ban cryptocurrency in the region. In an earlier remark on July 8, Thakur told the parliament that the Indian Government still does not recognize cryptocurrency as legal tender.
In another question regarding whether the Indian government noticed the growth of cryptocurrencies in India, Thakur said that the government has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to deal with the issue. He even added that the IMC has already submitted its report to the government.
The final question was focused on the government taking any action against individuals and companies running cryptocurrency exchanges. Thakur said that since there is no regulation dealing with cryptocurrencies directly, law enforcement agencies can only take action as per existing laws. Thakur added that the government has issued several advisories regarding the issue.
Committee Report Submitted to the Government
The Inter-Ministerial Committee included representation from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the Reserve Bank of India, the Security and Exchanges Board of India (SEBI), and the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and was drawn up to work on cryptocurrency-related legislation over a year ago.
An alleged draft of the report was posted by an Indian blockchain lawyer, Varun Sethi, earlier this year. According to the document, cryptocurrencies would be completely banned in the country, including any related activity such as mining, trading, and its exchange for goods and services. It also proposed punishments for violating the ban in the form of a fine or a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
The Reserve Bank of India, India’s central bank, issued a statement in April of 2018, preventing banks and other regulated entities from dealing with individuals or businesses associated with the cryptocurrency market. In response, some banks closed any customer accounts that showed traces of cryptocurrency-related activity.
An upcoming court hearing on July 23, will address petitions against these banking restrictions and should hopefully provide the community with more clarity.
Do you think a blanket ban on cryptocurrency in India could still be likely in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.