According to Reuters, “India will propose a law banning cryptocurrencies, fining anyone trading in the country or even holding such digital assets.” From the report: The bill, one of the world’s strictest policies against cryptocurrencies, would criminalize possession, issuance, mining, trading and transferring crypto-assets, said the official, who has direct knowledge of the plan. The measure is in line with a January government agenda that called for banning private virtual currencies such as bitcoin while building a framework for an official digital currency. But recent government comments had raised investors’ hopes that the authorities might go easier on the booming market.
Instead, the bill would give holders of cryptocurrencies up to six months to liquidate, after which penalties will be levied, said the official, who asked not to be named as the contents of the bill are not public. Officials are confident of getting the bill enacted into law as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government holds a comfortable majority in parliament. If the ban becomes law, India would be the first major economy to make holding cryptocurrency illegal. Even China, which has banned mining and trading, does not penalize possession.
According to the senior official, the plan is to ban private crypto-assets while promoting blockchain. “We don’t have a problem with technology. There’s no harm in harnessing the technology,” said the official, adding the government’s moves would be “calibrated” in the extent of the penalties on those who did not liquidate crypto-assets within the law’s grace period.
The report notes that 8 million investors in India now hold 100 billion rupees ($1.4 billion) in crypto-investments.
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