News: Indian government seen introducing new bill to ban cryptocurrencies

By Staff Writer

The Indian government is all but ready to introduce a bill that would, for all practical purposes, ban cryptocurrencies in the country, reports the Economic Times, quoting unnamed officials.

The “Banning of Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies Bill 2019” draft, prepared by a special panel under finance secretary Subhash Garg, has been circulated to relevant government departments, the influential paper reported.

The departments such as Department of Economic Affairs, Central Board of Taxes, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs and the Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority have reportedly endorsed the idea of a complete ban on cryptocurrencies.

Before the bill could be enacted, the ban could be implemented under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act since cryptocurrencies can be used to launder money.

The move by the Indian government to ban Bitcoin is not surprising. India’s Ministry of Finance has set up a special task force in late 2017 to draft a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, even as the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the parliament that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not legal tender.

The Indian central bank, the Reserve Bank of India, has prohibited banks and financial institutions from dealing with Bitcoin exchanges, forcing many of them to move overseas for change their business models.

Last week, the RBI announced a proposal for a regulatory sandbox for startups (see here) in fintech but it said it would not allow crypto asset firms from applying for the said sandbox.

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