India is in the process of establishing a regulatory framework for digital currencies including bitcoin. Last week, the Indian government started soliciting public comments on how digital currencies should be regulated.
Indian Government Wants Public Opinions
The Indian Government’s Ministry of Finance on Saturday announced that the public is now invited to submit feedback or suggestions regarding the digital currency framework on Mygov.in. This website is designed, developed and hosted by the government of India’s National Informatics Centre of the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology. The deadline for submissions is May 31.
This move follows the recent constitution of an inter-disciplinary committee by the Ministry of Finance’s Department of Economic Affairs “to examine the existing framework” of cryptocurrencies.
Should Bitcoin be Banned, Regulated or Observed?
The Indian government wants to know “whether Virtual Currencies (VCs) should be banned, regulated or observed?” according to the first question listed on the Mygov website.
For those suggesting regulation, the government further asks:
- What measures should be taken to ensure consumer protection?
- What measures should be taken to promote the orderly development of VCs.
- Which appropriate institution(s) should monitor or regulate VCs?
For those suggesting that virtual currencies should not be regulated, the government then wants to know:
- What should be the effective self-regulatory mechanism?
- What measures should be adopted to ensure consumer protection in this scenario?
Most Comments are Pro Regulating Bitcoin
At press time, over 120 comments have been submitted. The majority of them are in favor of regulating bitcoin and other digital currencies, citing they are “the future.” However, one user noted:
It’s almost impossible to regulate a currency which is decentralized, you can’t shut down a currency which is working on a peer to peer, decentralized system.
Many comments suggest that by legalizing bitcoin and other digital currencies, India could take the lead in digital currency adoption and the development of blockchain technologies.
Citing how Japan recently recognized bitcoin as a method of payment, a comment reads, “bitcoin should be introduced in India asap like in other developed nations.” Another proponent of legalizing bitcoin pointed out that “most of the countries already made it legal. It will definitely help boost the Indian economy.”
Some Suggest Banning
Among positive feedback are also ones which warn the government about the danger of bitcoin such as the recent Wannacry ransomware scare. One user wrote “bitcoin is very dangerous for the country. It is suicidal for the Indian economy,” citing its use by terrorists and criminals. Another commenter claimed, “to allow bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency will be a disaster, it will lead to the outflow of black money easily.”
A cyber dispute risk management consultant, Vijayashankar Na, also known as Naavi, also voiced his opinion. He suggested banning bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies, claiming that the government has been misled by people with vested interests in the digital currencies.
However, there were also comments that urge the government to consider regulating bitcoin rather than banning it. One noted that “the main thing is to stop the misuses of cryptocurrencies instead of banning,” adding that “banning is not a solution, it is an action against innovation and technology.” This sentiment was echoed by another user who believes that “regulating it [bitcoin] is the solution and not banning it.”
There was also a comment which devalued all other comments. The user suggested that the Indian government already has the “most dependable and knowledgeable people” who can give advice on the matter. “I feel that public opinion in such matters should not be considered,” he wrote, adding that “all pros and cons should be discussed in parliament on advice given by a team of economists with the government.”
Do you think the Indian government will ban, regulate or just observe bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the Indian Ministry of Finance
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