India’s cryptocurrency bill is going up for discussion in December — but it seems to be beating to same rhythm as 10 months ago
- The Indian government plans to put its cryptocurrency bill up for discussion during the Winter Session of Parliament, which will run from November 29 to December 23.
- It had put the bill on its agenda in February as well, during the Budget Session, however the proposed laws were never presented.
- Questions remain around what the Indian government means when referring to ‘private’ cryptocurrencies and what it deems to be ‘exceptions’.
Not only is the name of the bill to be introduced identical — The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2021 — whoever drafted the agenda didn’t even change the description of what the government is looking to discuss.
However, the more prominent point of debate is that the proposed law “seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India,” while allowing for “certain exceptions.”
Despite the complexities of what this may represent, the crypto community in India — especially those at the helm of startups and crypto exchanges — welcome the news. Sources told Business Insider that the law is likely to be a more relaxed version of the 2019 cryptocurrency bill, wherein all cryptocurrency activity would have been prohibited. However, no official version of the cryptocurrency bill has been made public so far.
“This is a big moment for India. From a banking ban in 2018 to listing the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021 in the Parliament's winter session… It speaks volumes about how India is determined to dominate the web 3.0 era.”
Could there be another crypto ban on the cards?
“Yes, theoretically, a government can say yes to CBDCs and no to private cryptocurrencies but you have problems both from a development perspective — stifling the software ecosystem and creator ecosystem — as well as from a legal perspective, where it could be challenged that it is unconstitutional,” Jaideep Reddy, a technology lawyer with Nishith Desai Associates (NDA) specialising in the field of crypto, fintech and tech policy, told Business Insider during a webinar titled ‘The Framework: Crypto Regulation And India’.
Moreover, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Indian state of Maharashtra are using blockchain solutions to make certificates tamper proof. “A lot of these blockchain use cases won’t work without a thriving and enabled cryptocurrency ecosystem,” explained Reddy.
India knows it can’t ignore cryptocurrencies any more
Regardless of whether the Indian government is in favour of cryptocurrencies or not, there is too much happening in the space for it to continue turning a blind eye.
"We welcome the move from the government. A well assessed and thought through regulation would pave the way for greater adoption of the technology and will help millions of Indians embrace this new age asset class. We are looking forward to the next steps on this."
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