India: RBI studies feasibility of digital currencies amid crypto crackdown

FILE PHOTO: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) seal is pictured on a gate outside the RBI headquarters in Mumbai, India, February 2, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File photo

India’s central bank is exploring the creation of a digital currency even as it escalates a crackdown on existing instruments such as bitcoin.

The Reserve Bank of India has set up a panel to study the desirability and feasibility of introducing a virtual currency, and the group will submit its report by the end of June, the RBI said in a statement on Thursday. However, it also said it is banning banks and other regulated entities from providing services to users, holders and traders of cryptocurrencies.

“It has been decided that, with immediate effect, entities regulated by RBI shall not deal with or provide services to any individual or business entities dealing with or settling virtual currencies,” the RBI said. “Regulated entities which already provide such services shall exit the relationship within a specified time. A circular in this regard is being issued separately.”

India doesn’t consider cryptocurrencies as legal tender and is opposed to their use given that they can be a channel for money laundering and terrorist financing. The Bank for International Settlements last month said digital currencies are a revolutionary tool that central banks should consider, but they remain far too risky to be used as legal tender any time soon.

The central bank also ordered payment service providers to store data on servers in India, and gave them six months to comply. Detailed instructions will be issued within a week, the RBI said.

Bloomberg

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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.