The Indian government seeks to propose a law banning cryptocurrencies under which anyone involved in its trading or holding such assets could be fined, according to reports.
Trading, mining and holding cryptocurrency could soon be illegal in India as the Indian government is proposing a new Bill that could ban all transactions related to cryptocurrencies.
According to a report by Reuters, the new Bill proposes to criminalise possession, issuance, mining, trading and transferring crypto-assets including Bitcoin, Dogecoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Instead, the bill would give holders of cryptocurrencies up to six months to liquidate, after which penalties will be believed, said the official, who asked not to be named as the contents of the bill are not public.
Officials are confident of getting the bill enacted into law as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government holds a comfortable majority in parliament.
If the ban becomes law, India would be the first major economy to make holding cryptocurrency illegal. Even China,which has banned mining and trading, does not penalise possession.
In India, despite government threats of a ban, transaction volumes are swelling and 8 million investors now hold 100 billion rupees ($1.4 billion) in crypto-investments, according to industry estimates. No official data is available.
“The money is multiplying rapidly every month and you don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines,” said Sumnesh Salodkar, acrypto-investor. “Even though people are panicking due to the potential ban, greed is driving these choices.”
The senior official told Reuters,”We don’t have a problem with technology. There’s no harm in harnessing the technology,” said the official, adding the government’s moves would be “calibrated” in the extent of the penalties on those who did not liquidate crypto-assets within the law’s grace period.
India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has tried to soothe the nerves of investors in cryptocurrencies.
“I can only give you this clue that we are not closing our minds, we are looking at ways in which experiments can happen in the digital world and cryptocurrency. There will be a very calibrated position taken,” she told a News portal.