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Bitcoin Isn’t Banned in India, Confirms Minister; That’s Just Half the Picture

Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:38 PM
Harsh Chauhan
Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:38 PM

Bitcoin enthusiasts in India have a reason to rejoice – the country’s government hasn’t banned cryptocurrencies, yet. Responding to a question in the Indian Parliament about the status of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin in India, minister of state for finance Anurag Thakur responded in the negative, according to a report by Inc42 .

Bitcoin bulls in India can breathe easy, for now

Dharmapuri Srinivas, a member of parliament in India’s upper house, asked the ruling government if the country has officially banned cryptocurrencies in the country. He also added:

“Whether the government has taken note about the prevalence of cryptocurrency in the country and if any action is being taken against the persons who are responsible for running the cryptocurrency in the market?”

Thakur, a member of parliament and a minister from India’s ruling right-wing party said that the government hasn’t banned the likes of bitcoin from India. He clarified:

“Presently, there is no separate law for dealing with issues relating to cryptocurrencies.

“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.”

Thakur further clarified that the various agencies in India, including the central bank, the tax department, and the law enforcement agencies, are currently dealing with cryptocurrencies under existing provisions provided by the country’s law.

This makes it clear that the proposed bill to ban bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies in India has not been tabled yet.

The Indian government had constituted a committee headed by the finance secretary last year for the purpose of drafting cryptocurrency regulations. A draft of the said bill was allegedly leaked earlier this month.

The draft makes it clear that if the bill is passed, the trading or mining of cryptocurrencies and bitcoin in the country will be deemed illegal, and those caught doing so will face up to 10 years in jail.

Just a small breather

For bitcoin enthusiasts in India, Anurag Thakur’s latest comments on cryptocurrency regulations are nothing more than a short breather.

It won’t be long before the government gets back to its habit of ensuring that the bitcoin and cryptocurrency ecosystem in India is crippled. After all, India has already taken draconian steps such as cutting off banking support to bitcoin exchanges and customers looking to purchase cryptocurrencies.

Moreover, the country’s income tax department has been known to send notices to people buying bitcoin after scouring the records of cryptocurrency exchanges.

Inc42 also reports that Thakur had said in a July 8 statement that the committee tasked with drafting cryptocurrency regulations was still working toward developing a regulatory framework.

But in a July 16 statement, he said in the parliament that the committee’s secretary has submitted a report to the government. So there’s a possibility that the draft bill has actually been submitted to the Indian government in the past few days and could soon make its way to the parliament. This could spell doom for bitcoin holders in the country, who should not be celebrating Thakur’s comments just yet.