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Twitter CEO announces Bitcoin trust with focus on India as Modi govt plans cryptocurrency ban

Jack Dorsey is partnering rapper Jay-Z to fund the trust with an initial investment of 500 Bitcoins (around Rs 170 crore). Trust seeks to make bitcoin 'internet’s currency’.

Jack Dorsey
File photo of Jack Dorsey | Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg

New Delhi: As the Narendra Modi government prepares to ban private cryptocurrencies in India, Twitter Inc. chief executive Jack Dorsey Friday announced a trust to fund Bitcoin development, with an initial focus on India and Africa.

Dorsey is partnering rapper Shawn Corey Carter, also known as Jay-Z, to fund the trust.

The duo will initially give 500 Bitcoins (valued at around Rs 170 crore) for the trust, which won’t take binding direction from them.

In a tweet announcing the move, Dorsey said, “JAY-Z/@S_C_ and I are giving 500 BTC to a new endowment named ₿trust to fund #Bitcoin development, initially focused on teams in Africa & India. It‘ll be set up as a blind irrevocable trust, taking zero direction from us. We need 3 board members to start…”

The Twitter CEO attached an application form for these three board member positions mentioned. According to the form, the trust’s mission will be to make “Bitcoin the internet’s currency”.

The move comes days after India announced its plans to ban private cryptocurrencies in the country.

Also read: How RBI’s ‘Retail Direct’ can open the door to India’s own Bitcoin-like digital currency

Future of cryptocurrencies in India?

The Modi government is planning to introduce the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, which will ban private cryptocurrencies while allowing for the usage of its underlying technology for other purposes. It will also enable the issuance of a digital currency by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The bill has been overseen by the empowered technology group headed by the principal scientific advisor to the government and the committee of secretaries chaired by cabinet secretary.

It is based on the recommendations of a high-level committee under the economic affairs secretary, which submitted its report in February 2019. The panel had proposed an enabling framework for a digital rupee issued by the RBI.

However, its recommendations were put in the cold storage until the Supreme Court lifted the RBI’s ban on cryptocurrencies in India in March 2020.

Now, the Modi government has announced its intention to regulate cryptocurrencies, with Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur stating earlier this week that the existing laws are inadequate to deal with the subject.

Also read: Energy guzzling Bitcoin is an incredibly dirty business