India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in an interview last March 14 with India Today Conclave that the country will not be shutting down the use of cryptocurrencies. This comes after the government proposed a bill that will ban all activities related to cryptocurrency.
In the interview, Sitharaman stated that instead of completely banning cryptocurrency, they would allow experiments with digital assets since various financial technology (fintech) companies in India rely on cryptocurrency.
‘From our side, we are very clear that we are not shutting all options. We will allow a certain window for people to do experiments on blockchain, bitcoins, or cryptocurrency.’
Sitharaman also encouraged the use of digital assets due to its positive development in India’s fintech landscape.
‘On fintech, on blockchain, there is a lot of work going on in India and we will certainly encourage that. We have got several presentations. Much work at the state-level is happening.’
Moreover, she assured the public that a Cabinet note providing an update and further information on the bill is in the works and will be released once completed.
The Finance Minister’s announcement came after Bitcoin hit an all-time high of $61K. It reassured fintech companies and crypto investors who have been waiting on the sidelines for an announcement.
CEO of India’s largest crypto exchange WazirX Nischal Shetty expressed his relief to hear the Finance Minister’s announcement. In a tweet he published last March 14, he shared ‘There you go! #bitcoin crypto will NOT be shut off. CBDC does not mean shutting off other crypto assets & utilities.’
Last January, the Indian government released the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of official Digital Currency Bill for approval that will prohibit all activities related to cryptocurrency such as buying, selling, mining, and promoting digital assets in the country. The proposed punishments of the bill range from fines up to 10 years of imprisonment. Other details of the bill are unknown as it is still in the works.
The introduction of the bill created an uproar in the Indian crypto community and caused fintech companies and non-profit organizations like the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) to speak out and appeal for reconsideration.
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