“India may introduce the world’s toughest ban on cryptocurrencies.” Reuters quoted an anonymous Indian government official as saying on the 15th that India intends to legislate a ban on cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, and that any holding, issuing, “mining”, trading and transferring of cryptocurrency assets will be considered illegal and be subjected to penalties. The price of bitcoin retreated from an all-time high of $61,000 on the same day, falling to $58,000.
Details of the proposed bill have not been made public, but it might give cryptocurrency holders up to six months to clean up their assets, Reuters said. The measure is in line with a proposal submitted to Parliament by the Modi government in January, which called for a ban on private cryptocurrencies while establishing a framework for issue of official digital currencies. If the ban becomes law, India would become the first major economy in the world to make it illegal to hold cryptocurrencies. Reuters said the legislation could be the toughest in the world and could deal a heavy blow to millions of cryptocurrency investors. India currently has about $1.4 billion in cryptocurrency investments, with registrations and trading funds growing nearly 30-fold in the past year.
Indian Finance Minister Sitharaman said the proposed cryptocurrency ban is not closing the window for all cryptocurrency use, according to The Times of India. She said Indian regulators would allow people to use a certain range of blockchain, bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. India’s central bank last month again expressed concern, saying cryptocurrencies are a risk to financial stability.