Cryptocurrency bill awaiting Cabinet nod, not likely to be made legal tender

Cryptocurrency bill awaiting Cabinet nod; likely to be tabled during the Winter Session of Parliament

New Delhi: A bill that would regulate cryptocurrency and its booming market in India is set to be taken up by the Union Cabinet, according to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The Finance Minister said she was waiting to see the Cabinet clear the bill, stating that a Cabinet note is ready on the cryptocurrency bill.

The cryptocurrency scene in India has 1.5 cr investors

Going by available statistics, approximately 1.5 crore Indians have invested and currently hold Rs 15,000 crore worth of cryptocurrencies. As many as 350 startups are operating in the blockchain and crypto space at the moment.

Money Control report pointed out that, Sitharaman’s stance on cryptocurrency was that the government did not favor shutting all options on cryptocurrency investment. She had been quoted saying that the government would want to provide adequate windows to experiment with blockchain, bitcoins, and cryptocurrency.

As recently as July, the Finance Minister had stated that the government does not collect information on the number of cryptocurrency exchanges and investors in India. Her stance was based on information that the government wasn’t aware of any involvement with narcotic drug trafficking or money laundering by players in the crypto scene.

The cryptocurrency bill’s fundamental purpose will be the “creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India,” the bulletin for the Budget Session prepared by the Lok Sabha Secretariat said.

Crypto ban unlikely

In the current situation, the government need not be expected to allow cryptocurrencies as legal tender. It may be expected that they could get the government nod to continue as tradable assets with a market. However, there isn’t any chance that the administration would bring about a ban too.

It needs to be foreseen that a cabinet clearance is in the offing before November this year. That would also mean that the bill would be tabled during the Winter Session of Parliament.

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