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Need to regulate, not ban cryptocurrency, Parliament panel members & experts suggest

Industry experts and members expressed concern over ads promoting cryptocurrency, said there is a need for checks & balances.

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New Delhi: At a parliamentary panel meeting Monday on issues related to cryptofinance, a majority of industry experts and MPs spoke against banning cryptocurrency but stressed the need for regulation, MPs who attended the meeting told ThePrint.

This is the first meeting held by the Standing Committee on Finance, which is headed by former MoS Finance and BJP leader Jayant Sinha, on cryptocurrency-related issues amidst a growing clamour for bringing in a law to regulate it. On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting on the digital currency and related issues.

The government is also planning to bring a bill on Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency and might take it to the Cabinet for approval soon.

The associations and industry experts who were present at Friday’s meeting included representatives from the Confederation of Indian Industry, Indian Software Product Industry, and IIM-Ahmedabad among others.

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency and is not issued by any central bank, and therefore has no sovereign backing. India presently does not have any legal framework to regulate cryptocurrency.

Need for strict regulations

An MP who attended Monday’s meeting said since the subject of cryptofinance is relatively new, parliamentary panel members felt that there needs to be more discussion on various aspects related to it. “But both industry experts and members were of the view that it should not be banned but strict regulations have to be brought to regulate its operations,” one of the MPs said.

The parliamentary panel members also want to know the government’s stand on cryptocurrency. “Today we just heard the views of industry experts and associations. But we want to know if the government is framing any policy to regulate cryptocurrency,” the MP said.

Many of the MPs also expressed concern over ads in newspapers promoting cryptocurrency. They said there is a need to ensure the safety of investments in various cryptocurrencies made by people.

“There are no checks and balances now. Lot of people are investing in cryptocurrency. An unregulated market can result in people losing money on their investments,” a second MP said.

The MP added that members also felt that there is a need to ensure that cryptocurrencies are not used illegally or for money laundering.

According to a government source, the concern over unregulated cryptomarkets becoming avenues for money laundering and terror financing was also discussed in Saturday’s meeting chaired by the PM.

One of the MP’s wanted to know the amount invested in cryptocurrency in India. The MP said that there are reports that an estimated Rs 6 lakh crore has been invested in the cryptocurrency market in India.

Also read: What is the bitcoin scam & who is the 25 yr-old that has put the BJP govt in Karnataka in a spot


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