India will purportedly introduce bill to make owning and trading cryptocurrency illegal

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India is set to move forward with a sweeping ban on cryptocurrencies. According to Reuters, the country’s legislature is set to propose a bill that criminalizes trading, mining, issuing, transferring, or possessing cryptocurrency. If this bill is passed it would give India some of the world’s strictest digital currency laws.

None of the large countries across the world have implemented this kind of ban on cryptocurrency. China, which holds the place of having some of the harshest policies, prohibits trading coins but does not outlaw owning them.

This proposal follows the long fight between cryptocurrency traders and the Indian government. The Reserve Bank of India cracked down on Bitcoin in 2018, banning banks from dealing in virtual currencies. The Supreme Court of India overturned the decision in 2020, but it didn’t necessarily preclude passing a new, even stricter law — which seems to be what was in the works behind the scenes.

Under this plan, people who own these crypto-assets have six months to liquidate their holdings. Reuters’ source, a government official, didn’t specify the punishment for breaking the rules. A government panel in 2019 recommended a jail sentence of up to 10 years for cryptocurrency-related offenses. The official had stated that the discussions were in their “final stages,” but there’s no defined timeline for introducing the bill.

The Indian government had outlined its plans in January, when it published an agenda for the upcoming legislative session. That agenda included banning “all private cryptocurrencies” in India, with some exceptions to promote the general use of blockchain technology. The goal seems to be the roll out of an official government-issued digital currency while outlawing private alternatives. Bitcoin, which had Tesla invest 1.5 Billion USD into it had reached a record during trading at $61,283, earlier this month.

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