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India Reportedly Legalizing Cryptocurrencies Under “Tough” Ruling

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According to a report via the New India Express, the Indian government is looking into legalizing cryptocurrencies. However, this would be under fairly strict rulings, as the country’s investigative cryptocurrency committee doesn’t want to ban digital assets outright, but recognizes they must still be regulated.

A Positive Approach

A senior group member who wants to remain anonymous reportedly claims:

“We have already had two meetings. There is a general consensus that cryptocurrency cannot be dismissed as completely illegal. It needs to be legalized with strong riders. Deliberations are on.”

Supposedly, the committee will report its decision to the Indian finance ministry by February 2019.

This group was originally led by Dinesh Sharma and was founded in March of last year. It is made up of members from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, the State Bank of India (SBI), and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY). Interestingly, this news goes against the group’s original push to ban cryptocurrencies only four months after it was established.

Shortly afterward, a member of the RBI ruled cryptocurrencies as illegal. The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley spoke on the ruling in a speech on February 1st of this year, further justifying their choices.

A Second Opinion

Following the initial ban, some stakeholders went after RBI fiat within the Supreme Court. Because of the diverse opinions, the Indian government established a second committee which was led by Subhash Chandra Garg—secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs.

This second committee included a revenue secretary alongside members from RBI, MEITY, and the Securities and Exchange Board of India. Additionally, countries part of the G20 collective decided to start regulating digital assets to help prevent money laundering and overall terrorism conducted via these currencies. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) echoed this decision.

Some members of this second committee have been active within G20 and FATF meetings already. This team will likely share any global insights gained in the aforementioned report. They’ll be meeting in January, and will go in with the following plan:

“We have also taken inputs from cryptocurrency exchanges and experts and will be examining legal issues with the law ministry. It’s a complicated issue. Once all aspects are decided, then we will have more clarity.”

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