India Not Banning Bitcoin

February 4, 2018

India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the country’s budget for 2018-2019 has mentioned cryptocurrencies and their usage within India.

 “The Government does not consider cryptocurrencies as legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate the use of these crypto assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payments system”, claimed Jaitley.

This gives reasons for drawing the following conclusions:

  • Indian authorities won’t recognize Bitcoin as legal means of payment
  • They will struggle against using the cryptocurrency in illegitimate activities
  • The authorities will persuade people from using cryptocurrency for payment

Jaitley did not sound any statements on banning crypto and nor promised closing all such exchanges. The fact that tax agencies  in India have long been partnered with crypto exchanges for pursuing those evading taxes.

But Jaitley’s remarks have caused a number of misguiding news form Indian national press and media that Indian government proclaimed all ccryptocurrencies.

“Arun Jaitley has just killed India’s cryptocurrency party,” - кричал заголовок Quartz India headline screamed. “It appears to be the end of the road for cryptocurrencies in India”, the article said.

Actually Jaitley was asked straight out during the interview at Indian state TV broadcasting company Doordarshan whether the government is drafting ban on crypto, so he answered:

“We are discouraging people from using it now. There is a government committee that’s looking into it right now and they will announce their decisions and next steps after they are done”.

Still there is no ban. Governmental Committee comprised by representatives of various departments as well as central bank and largest (state-owned) bank of India is drafting a legal basis for cryptocurrencies in India. The committee was established by the Indian Ministry of Finance in April 2017.

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