India seeks to block most private cryptocurrencies in new bill

FILE PHOTO: Representations of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin are seen in this illustration picture taken June 2, 2021. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo

India is looking to bar most private cryptocurrencies when it introduces a new bill to regulate virtual currencies in the winter session of Parliament, the government said late on Tuesday.

The government will allow only certain cryptocurrencies to promote the underlying technology and its uses, according to a legislative agenda for the winter session that is set to start later this month.

Through the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, India is also looking to make a framework for the official digital currency that will be issued by the Reserve Bank of India.

The central bank has voiced “serious concerns” about private cryptocurrencies and is set to launch its own digital currency by December.

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, is hovering around $60,000, and its price has more than doubled since the start of this year, attracting hordes of local investors.

No official data is available but industry estimates suggest there are 15 million to 20 million crypto investors in India, with total crypto holdings of around 400 billion rupees ($5.39 billion).

Earlier this year, India‘s government considered criminalising the possession, issuance, mining, trading and transference of crypto assets, but a bill was not introduced.

Since then, the government has changed its stance slightly and is now looking to discourage trading in cryptocurrencies by imposing hefty capital gains and other taxes, two sources told Reuters this month.

But a senior government official told Reuters that the plan is to ban private crypto assets ultimately while paving the way for a new Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting to discuss the future of cryptocurrencies amid concerns that unregulated crypto markets could become avenues for money laundering and terror financing, sources told Reuters separately.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.