The Government of India is planning to propose a new bill that will not only ban digital money but also fine anyone trading or keeping such digital assets in the country. Investors in Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and other cryptocurrencies would be affected. According to a senior government official, the new bill aims to make possession, issuance, mining, trading and exchanging crypto-assets illegal.
Over the past few months, the government has been considering action against cryptocurrencies, but recent statements have given investors some hope. However, if the new bill becomes law, it would be a source of concern for them. As a result, India will be the first major economy to make cryptocurrency possession illegal. Possession is not punishable even in China, which has banned mining and trading.
According to the official, investors will be granted a six-month window to liquidate their assets before being penalized. Over 7 million citizens in India are assumed to have invested more than $1 billion in cryptocurrencies and are looking for a way to get their money back before a law is imposed. The industry also hopes that the government would not enforce a complete ban on cryptocurrencies, and instead will control the sector.
According to the official, the aim is to ban private crypto-assets while promoting blockchain technology, which serves as the basis for virtual currencies. The claims come at a time when Bitcoin’s price is on the rise again. On Saturday, the world’s largest cryptocurrency reached a new high of $60,000, nearly doubling in value this year as its acceptance for payments has grown thanks to high-profile backers like Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk.
Surprisingly, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has stated that cryptocurrency will not be completely banned. The finance minister said that the government is not yet closing all doors to cryptocurrency, blockchain, and fintech. She claimed that a Cabinet note is currently being prepared in this regard, which will provide comprehensive details on the growth of cryptocurrency in India.
“My view on this is that, of course, the Supreme Court has commented on cryptocurrency and while the RBI may take a call on official cryptocurrency, from our side, we are very clear that we are not shutting off all options,” said FM Sitharaman.