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Govt to decide on cryptocurrency bill soon; stakeholders await final details

Govt to decide on cryptocurrency bill soon; stakeholders await final details

The cryptocurrency bill aim is to create an official digital currency issued by the Reserve Bank of India, and seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies operating in the country

Subhash Chandra Garg has submitted a report seeking a ban on cryptocurrencies and authorising a digital currency of the RBI. Photo: Reuters Subhash Chandra Garg has submitted a report seeking a ban on cryptocurrencies and authorising a digital currency of the RBI. Photo: Reuters

The government is expected to take up the bill to regulate cryptocurrency in our country soon, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. An inter-ministerial panel headed by former finance secretary Subhash Chandra Garg has submitted a report seeking a ban on cryptocurrencies and authorising a digital currency of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

As per a PTI report, Sitharaman said on Monday, "Cabinet note is ready on cryptocurrency bill. I am awaiting Cabinet to clear that." Undoubtedly, any discussion around cryptocurrency brings optimism for crypto enthusiasts and industry veterans. "We are pleased to see that the government is pressing for crypto legislation. Emerging technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrency, as well as AI and machine learning, hold the key to future economic prosperity," says Siddharth Menon, COO WazirX.

The largest cryptocurrency in terms of market cap, Bitcoin has soared around 50 per cent from its lows last month. It had gone below the $30,000 mark around this time in the last month. According to the data from CoinMarketcap.com, Bitcoin dominates the market with 43.38 per cent share, followed by Ethereum that holds 18.81 per cent market share. Ethereum has risen by over 60 per cent in the last one month.

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Earlier in August, the finance ministry had said, "The government would take a decision on the recommendations of the IMC and the legislative proposal, if any, would be introduced in Parliament following the due process."

The proposed bill narrowly missed out on being tabled during the Monsoon Session of Parliament. The cryptocurrency bill's primary aim is to create an official digital currency issued by the Reserve Bank of India. The bill seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India.

What's the cryptocurrency bill?

Well, no one actually knows. Menon of WazirX says, "We are yet to know more about the final contents of the bill submitted and how it would impact the Indian crypto community and businesses." However, he is confident that more discussion, and the regulation of cryptocurrency would result in creating more growth opportunities for an increasingly tech-savvy population.

Also read: Waiting for Cabinet approval on cryptocurrency bill: Nirmala Sitharaman

There has been a lot of chaos around crypto due to conflicting statements by the government in the past. In February, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said the central bank has reservations about cryptocurrencies and that it is working on its own digital currency. Around the same time, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in the Rajya Sabha that a high-level committee formed to study issues related to virtual currencies (VCs) has recommended that all private cryptocurrencies, except those issued by the state, should be prohibited.

The next month, she said, "A lot of negotiations and discussions are happening around cryptocurrency with the RBI, which will take a call on what kind of unofficial cryptocurrency will have to be planned and how it is to be regulated. We want to make sure there is a window available for all kinds of experiments which will have to take place in the crypto world."

Also read: India’s latest unicorn is cryptocurrency exchange CoinDCX