Mumbai:Cryptocurrency entrepreneurs and industry leaders are hitting the panic button as the government prepares to outlaw trade in private e-money ahead of the potential launch of India’s official digital currency.
On Friday, the Centre announced that it will introduce the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, in the ongoing budget session. It is aimed at paving the way for eventual introduction of digital money by the country’s central bank at a time when China is testing a version of its digital yuan.
Industry mavens, who welcome the government’s move, remain concerned with the provision seeking to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies, while allowing certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology.
“We believe these are two important and distinct subjects,” said Naveen Surya, chairman emeritus at Payments Council of India. While bringing in a central bank digital currency could be a tool for expansion of the digital payment industry, “banning of private cryptocurrency is a separate subject…”, he said.
Regulation, Not Ban
“It deems a look by a separate committee and should be reviewed in detail,” Surya said. The cryptocurrency industry has long been seeking regulation of the digital asset, arguing against a ban.
The current bill, experts reckon, may resolve ambiguity on trade in digital money, which is currently neither banned nor legalised in India. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) barred regulated entities such as banks from allowing trade on crypto exchanges in 2018. However, the Supreme Court