India, a South Asian country has proposed a draft bill that will ban the holding and trading of cryptocurrency and anyone found wanting might spend ten years in prison. India may also launch its digital currency if the bill is passed into law, according to Bloomberg Quint’s report on June 7, 2019.
Per the report, India has proposed a draft bill called, “Banning Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019.” The bill seeks to prevent citizens of the country from “mining, generating, holding, buying, selling or dealing in cryptocurrencies directly or indirectly.”
Similarly, offenders will not be liable for bail and will spend up to ten years in prison. They will also be made to pay fines that will either be thrice the gains they had made from trading digital assets or thrice the loss experienced by the system, depending on which is higher. In cases where the fine cannot be determined, the government will impose its one fine.
If the draft bill is passed into law, cryptocurrency investors will be given 90 days to “declare and dispose of” any crypto assets in their holding. On the other hand, the new draft bill proposes the creation of the country’s official cryptocurrency. The latter goes contrary to the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) India claim early this year that it will no longer be issuing a digital currency.
Prior to this time, a local media outlet in India informed that the government has begun inter-ministerial consultations concerning the draft bill. It added that government departments such as the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), and Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) have endorsed the idea to prevent the “sale, purchase and issuance of all types of cryptocurrency.”
Furthermore, a committee made of government departments was set up and they outlined that the government is taking too long to ban crypto assets in the region. The committee also suggested that a ban could be achieved by under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) because these assets can be used for money laundering.
Despite this, it is still uncertain if the news about the crypto ban in India is true or fake since the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently denied having any knowledge about the government’s plans to ban cryptocurrency. The RBI’s stance was made known after Varun Sethi, a lawyer who specializes in the blockchain filed a Right to Information request to the RBI on May 7, 2019.
While responding to Sethi’s questions on June 4, 2019, the RBI said it did not receive any copy on the suggested draft bill and it has not communicated with the central government regarding any ban. Also, it has neither endorsed the decision to ban cryptocurrencies nor has it received any written communication that a government department is about to endorse it.
Irrespective of the uncertainty, the cryptocurrency community has not taken it lightly. A number of people such as John McAfee, a Bitcoin proponent, and Tony Vays, a Derivatives Trader, Analyst & YouTube Content Creator have expressed their views regarding the proposed bill law.
McAffee in two separate tweets which have been deleted said:
“The war has begun. An entire nation wishing to free itself is now punished for using the instrument of freedom,” and “If there ever was a time for Anonymous to step up to the plate, that time is now!”
Tony Ways, on the other hand, said:
“India Considering 10 Years in Prison for doing anything related to #Bitcoin – And NOW it Begins… If a western country announces something similar we can all say @evoskuil was all over it first!”
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