Putting aside the confusion about owning cryptocurrency, Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar, while speaking at Business Today’s Crypto Conclave 2022 in New Delhi on Tuesday, in very clear words stated that there is no ban on owing cypto assets in India.
“There is no ban on owning crypto assets. There's clearly a recognition that the digital virtual asset is a category of assets going forward, whether it's an NFT (non-fungible token) or crypto, or even something else in the future, these are things that people will start accumulating through the liberalized remittance scheme (LRS) or any other way,” said Chandrasekhar.
He further clarified that “the rupee obviously, is not a fully convertible currency and therefore, there are restrictions on how you can use the rupee to buy assets that are non-rupee assets. And, the RBI has laid down many ways of doing that. The LRS is the easiest way for an individual to invest in any asset he or she wants, and there is no disqualification from anybody owning a crypto asset as part of his portfolio of assets.”
On whether the tax rate on cryptocurrencies is high, the minister added, "These are things that evolve over time and as you know, in anything that is unknown or less understood, usually the instinct is to tax it at a higher rate. And then as people become comfortable with it, those tax rates obviously moderate”
Further, commenting on the regulatory structures (which are not very clear), Chandrasekhar added there is clarity after the Budget that if one is looking for domestic crypto assets there will be only one and that would be the RBI issued CBDC, and that will be the digital Rupee. “And as that rolls out, the way the issuance of that, the mining of that, the minting of that, the buying of that will become clear from the issue of the RBI. So, frankly, from my point of view, I think the landscape is very clear. There are some questions around existing crypto exchanges, crypto brokers, p2p types of trades on cryptos. What happens, who regulates them? And I think that will evolve.”
He also clarified that the government’s approach to policymaking is not slow as it is measured with a lot of public consultations and making the right moves with the right amount of knowledge and consultation and an engagement with the principal stakeholders of the industry, and the ecosystem.
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