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Bitcoin-Lite: India Discusses Issuing Central Bank-Backed Cryptocurrency

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:59 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:59 PM

The Indian government is reportedly considering a proposal to introduce its own cryptocurrency based on a blockchain, like bitcoin.

According to a report by the Business Standard , a regional publication, the central government of India has discussed the possibility of a state-cryptocurrency that would be issued and backed by the central bank.

The report cites unnamed sources close to the discussions who claimed that:

[The cryptocurrency] proposal was discussed by a committee of government officials, and the panel found the idea of setting up and running blockchain for financial services useful.

These government officials, the report further revealed, aren’t ‘comfortable’ with Bitcoin as the cryptocurrency for settlement over a blockchain and are, therefore, looking at a government-issued cryptocurrency.

‘Whenever the decision is taken, the cryptocurrency will fall in the domain of the Reserve Bank of India and some Acts such as the Currency Act might have to be amended,” the report added, hinting at a lengthy process when it takes shape. However, officials have also discussed the possibility of naming the cryptocurrency “Lakshmi”, after the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity.

As CCN.com reported recently, India’s central bank is already researching cryptocurrencies with the intent of digitizing India’s fiat currency, the rupee. Speaking at a FinTech conference last week, RBI executive director Sudarshan Sen revealed that “a group of people” within the RBI “are looking at fiat cryptocurrencies” as an “alternative to the Indian rupee.”

Indian authorities are currently in discussions toward establishing a regulatory framework for digital currencies in the country. A ban remains highly unlikely in the country which sees a marked uptick in adoption and awareness of cryptocurrencies and, in particular, bitcoin. Last month, Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley, the country’s foremost financial official, admitted that the last few years have shown a “notable growth” of India’s bitcoin market.

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