According to a report by Reuters, India is going scorched earth on cryptocurrency, planning to introduce a bill criminalizing the mining, buying, selling, or even simply having the digital asset in your possession.
The bill gives cryptocurrency holders a 6 month grace period to liquidate their assets. After which, a senior government official told Reuters, they would face repercussions. If this bill were to become law (which it probably will considering Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “comfortable majority” in parliament), India would have even stricter cryptocurrency laws than China, who bans mining and trading but not possession.
Reuters’ source didn’t specify what sort of penalties offenders would face but according to The Verge a governmental panel suggested 10 years in jail back in 2019.
Bitcoin’s value has been steadily on the rise recently, hitting an all-time high of just under $60,000 over the weekend, with repeated endorsement from figures like Elon Musk and even Jay-Z. And despite the impending ban, Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says that legislature isn’t “closing [their]minds” on the matter.
While cryptocurrency itself will be banned by the bill, the technology behind it, blockchain, will be promoted for its potential to transform the way international transactions are carried out.
According to Reuters, Sitharaman told CSNBC-TV18 “We are looking at ways in which experiments can happen in the digital world and cryptocurrency. There will be a very calibrated position taken.”