India wants to regulate the cryptocurrencies rather than ban them outright, NDTV has reported. Last month, New Delhi sent the domestic digital market plummeting as it announced plans to ban private virtual currencies.
India’s television network NDTV says the government circulated a note on the proposed bill, which says private cryptocurrencies will be regulated and will not be recognized as legal currency in India. The legislation is also reported to describe cryptocurrencies as crypto assets that will be overseen by the country’s market watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
Citizens who have digital currencies will be given a deadline to declare their crypto assets and transfer them onto exchange platforms overseen by the regulator. Failing to do so before the deadline will result in penalties, including a jail sentence, says NDTV.
It was reported in November that the Indian government was mulling over a bill that proposed creating an official digital coin and banning all private cryptocurrencies in the country. Last week, however, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the bill was being reviewed and changed in order to respond to rapid changes in the industry.
The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill reportedly seeks to protect small investors by treating cryptocurrency as a financial asset. It’s expected to be introduced in the upcoming winter session of parliament.
There’s no official data available on India’s crypto market, but industry estimates cited by Reuters put the total amount of digital currency held in India at up to 400 billion rupees ($5.4 billion).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said last month that it was important to ensure that cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin do not “end up in the wrong hands, which can spoil our youth.”
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