Bitcoin will remain legal in India while the government works on regulations, a minister has said in new positive comments on the fate of the industry.
Finance Minister: Bitcoin Regulations Coming
Responding to a request for clarity on the state’s view of cryptocurrency, Anurag Thakur, India’s Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs, firmly denied any token was illegal.
The comments contradict the content of an alleged draft law which surfaced last week, which outlined plans for a blanket ban on cryptocurrency and prison sentences for its use.
The document, which appeared online from a local lawyer, appeared to form the basis of the queries to Thakur, who nonetheless did not refer to its contents explicitly.
“No, Sir,” he replied when asked whether the government “has prohibited cryptocurrency.”
“Taking note of the issue, the Government has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) under the Chairmanship of Secretary (EA). The IMC has submitted the Report to the Government,” he continued.
As Bitcoinist reported, India continues to find itself in a state of flux after highly-mixed messages from authorities and the central bank.
In July 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) forbade banks from serving cryptocurrency businesses, resulting in shutdowns for some and exodus overseas for others.
The draft bill, which has not seen recognition, made further reference to the creation of a digital rupee, which its author or authors said would become India’s only legally-allowed domestic digital currency.
The industry has meanwhile sought to overturn the RBI ban via the courts, a process which appears to have run into multiple delays.
‘Careful Steps Forward’
Summarizing, Thakur struck a cautious tone, signaling that existing rules applied to cryptocurrency while Delhi thrashed out new regulations.
“Presently, there is no separate law for dealing with issues relating to cryptocurrencies. Hence, all concerned Departments and law enforcement agencies, such as RBI, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax authorities, etc. take action as per the relevant existing laws,” he confirmed.
“Similarly, police/courts take action on IPC offenses. Further, in view of the risks and dangers associated with cryptocurrencies, Government and RBI have been issuing advisories, press releases, and circulars to the public.”
His words saw a warm welcome among the local cryptocurrency industry, with Nischal Shetty, CEO of exchange WazirX, saying the government was taking “careful steps forward.”
The government saw direct backlash when the draft law emerged, with investor Tim Draper openly calling it “pathetic and corrupt” for allegedly suggesting the ban.
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