India hasn’t always been the most crypto-friendly country but things might be getting worse. According to a leaked bill being circulated on the internet, India might be seriously considering an outright ban of all cryptocurrencies apart from the Digital Rupee.
On Monday, the 15th of July, Varun Sethi, a tech lawyer, uploaded a document purported to be details of a bill to be deliberated on by the Parliament of India. Titled “Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of Official Digital Currencies”, the document is 18 pages long and contains a few specifics regarding definitions and plans to outlaw the use of crypto in the country.
Though the document is unconfirmed, its existence is already on the lips of many as they discuss the possible effects this bill may have on cryptocurrency in the country and the global sector in general. Nischal Shetty, the founder and CEO of Indian cryptocurrency exchange – WazirX – has taken to Twitter to comment on the matter. According to him, even if the document is verified as authentic, the Monsoon session of Parliament will not be debating the bill. Shetty also pointed out that it takes a long time for any bill to be passed as law.
Definition and Specifics
The document contains an extensive delineation of cryptocurrency, defining it as “any information or code or number or token not being part of any Official Digital Currency, generated through cryptographic means or otherwise, providing a digital representation of value…or functions as a store of value or a unit of account and includes its use in any financial transaction or investment.”
The “Prohibition” part of the document, however, expressly states that the Digital Rupee will not fall under the term “Cryptocurrency” which means that it will not be banned with the others. The document specifically states:
“No person shall mine, generate, hold, sell, deal in, issue, transfer; dispose of or use Cryptocurrency in the territory of India.”
The Digital Rupee would be issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) subject to approval from the Central Government. It will also be governed and be subject to regulations as may be stipulated by the RBI.
Distributed Ledger Technology is Still Allowed
Even though cryptocurrency will no longer be used either as a unit of account, a medium of exchange or a store of value, the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is still very much allowed. DLT remains lawful for experimental, educational and research purposes, as long as cryptocurrencies are not used on them.
Furthermore, DLT can also be used by financial institutions or any other service providers who might need it to create or improve on their network or services for whatever reason, as long as no cryptocurrencies are used. The document states that anyone who contravenes the law would have to pay a yet to be disclosed fine or serve a ten-year jail term, or both.
Last month, a report showed that the RBI was working on its own blockchain platform for its Research and Development branch and possibly to host its own Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). However, it has now reportedly shelved the plan.
Also, it is rumored that Facebook does not plan to operate its Libra in India because of the country’s anti-crypto stance.
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