Representatives of various Indian government departments have made statement regarding the Indian government’s inquiry into virtual currencies. The statements clarify that Indian officials will first monitor cryptocurrency before determining if regulators are needed, and elude to the possibility that bitcoin may be recognized as a form of payment.
“We Will Submit the Report by July-End,” a Senior Government Official Told Moneycontrol
A committee that includes representatives from India’s finance ministry, the State Bank of India, the ministry of information technology, and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have discussed the report that it is completing on virtual currencies with Moneycontrol News.
“We have had five meetings and have consulted all ministries, public, stakeholders. We will submit the report by July-end,” a senior government official told Moneycontrol.
In addition to examining the prevention of money laundering and the implementation of consumer protection with regards to cryptocurrency, the committee has been tasked with assessing the viability of regulating virtual currencies, with emphasis on greater accountability for cryptocurrency transactions. The committee has also recognized that a ban on virtual currencies may impossible to enforce.
One official alluded to the possibility that the Indian government may consider recognizing bitcoin transactions as a legitimate means of payment. “SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) can be asked to regulate virtual currencies as transactions are currently done through unregulated exchanges. RBI may step in if the government plans to regulate them or accept them as currency.”
The Committee’s Statements Contrast Heavily From Previous Comments Issued by the RBI Regarding Bitcoin
India presently does not have a regulatory framework pertaining to the use of cryptocurrencies and does not wish to rush into the implementation of a juridical apparatus for virtual currencies. “We may monitor these currencies for some time and then see how it progresses. It can then be concluded if at all there is a need for a regulator,” the official said. The absence of current a legal classification pertaining to virtual currencies will likely extend the time for India to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework.
The committee’s statements contrast heavily from previous comments issued by the RBI regarding bitcoin and other virtual currencies. The RBI and other government departments have consistently warned citizens against the potential perils associated with cryptocurrency such as hacking and fraud, and have connotated its use with illegal activities in previous years. Although the Indian government is still a long way from embracing cryptocurrency technology, these statements show that the government’s stance regarding virtual currencies is maturing and evolving. Ultimately, the statements suggest that the bitcoin community can expect a nuanced, cautious, and sensible path toward cryptocurrency regulation in India.
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