Cryptocurrency May Go from Banned to Legitimate in India

Indian authorities are considering legalizing cryptocurrency circulation subject to strict rules.

A governmental committee in India supports making digital assets legal on the territory of the country provided that they are strictly regulated, the New Indian Express reports.

At present, cryptocurrency is banned in this Asian country. In April, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) forced lenders and other traditional financial institutions to stop providing services to cryptocurrency-related companies, including trading platforms and exchanges. This decision caused a wave of protests from crypto exchanges, which filed a petition with the country’s supreme court to request that the ban be lifted.

While the jury is still out, a second interdisciplinary committee set up by the government to investigate the aspects of blockchain and cryptocurrency believes it might be unwise to implement an outright ban. Instead, the government should consider tough regulation that would end the “Wild West” situation in this market.

“We have already had two meetings. There is a general consensus that cryptocurrency cannot be dismissed as completely illegal. It needs to be legalized with strong riders. Deliberations are on. We will have more clarity soon,” a senior official told the media outlet.

The committee is supposed to submit a detailed report on its finding to the finance ministry by February 2019.

“We have also taken inputs from cryptocurrency exchanges and experts and will be examining legal issues with the law ministry. It’s a complicated issue. Once all aspects are decided, then we will have more clarity,” the official added.

The idea of regulating the cryptocurrency industry is in line with the recent position of G20 countries, which agreed to work on clear rules and guidelines for the industry to ensure investor protection and crack down on money laundering and terrorism financing. RBI executive director Ganesh Kumar and finance ministry officials who are a part of the second committee discussed these issues at G20 and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) working group meetings.

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