Indian government to take a “calibrated” stance on cryptocurrency

In contrast to reports of India banning the trading of cryptocrrrency that were going around prior to the budget for 2021-22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government is still in the process formulating its opinion and can be trusted to take a calibrated position.

A legislation that was drafted this January in the form of the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, suggesting a blanket ban on all ‘private cryptocurrency,’ had caused quite some concerns in India. The bill, intended as a framework for the official India Central Bank Digital Currency, is pending parliament approval on April 8.

Addressing the bill and recent concerns, Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a recent interview with CNBC, that concerns over of a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies are premature. While negotiations are still ongoing, the outlook is looking more tempered she said, in contrast to the “mixed messages coming in from across the world”. She highlighted that regulations will not be as “severe” as has been reported and that authorities are expected to “look inward” and take a “very calibrated” stance.

“Yes, a lot of negotiations, discussions are happening, with Reserve Bank,” said Sitharaman. “Obviously the Reserve Bank will be taking a quorum on how, what kind of unofficial currency, cryptocurrency will have to be planned, and how it has to be regulated. But also, we want to make sure that there’s a window available for all kinds of experiments which will have to take place in the crypto world.”

On Saturday, during an event organized by Entrepreneurs Organisation – EO Punjab, India’s Minister of State for Finance, Anurag Thakur said that the government is open-minded to look into new technologies, including cryptocurrencies, for improving effective governance.

Thakur said:

“Let me say that we welcome innovation and new technology…blockchain is a new emerging technology. Cryptocurrency is a form of virtual currency. I firmly believe that we must always evaluate, explore and encourage new ideas with an open mind,”

The announcement is in line with recent global developments towards adoption of cryptocurrency and has calmed the sentiment in India’s crypto-world, who have breathed sighs of relief.

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