Following the news that Indian “blockchain lawyer” Varun Sethi leaked a copy of draft legislation proposing a ban on cryptocurrencies in India, India Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur reportedly stated there is yet to be an official ban on cryptocurrency in India.
According to Indian business news outlet Inc 42, when asked if the Indian government has taken note of the “prevalence of cryptocurrency” in the country and if any action is being taken against those who are responsible for running the cryptocurrency in the market, Thakur answered no and stated:
“Presently, there is no separate law for dealing with issues relating to cryptocurrencies.”
Thakur then further explained that all concerned government departments and law enforcement agencies, such as RBI, enforcement directorate and income tax authorities take action as per the relevant existing laws.
“Further, in view of the risks and dangers associated with cryptocurrencies, government and RBI have been issuing advisories, press releases and circulars to the public.”
In the leaked copy of the drafted legislation, the six-part and 27 clause bill in its present iteration reads as follows:
“No person shall mine, generate, hold, buy or sell or deal in, issue, transfer, dispose of or use cryptocurrency in the territory of India.”
The bill also proposed 10-year prison sentences for individuals found to have violated the terms above, directly or indirectly. The current bill contains the following definition of cryptocurrencies:
“[Cryptocurrencies are] any information or code or number or token not being part of any official digital currency, generated through cryptographic means or otherwise, providing a digital representation of value which is exchange with or without consideration, with the promise or representation of having inherent value in any business activity which may involve risk of loss or an expectation of profits or income, or functions as a store of value or a unit of account and includes its use in any financial transaction or investment, but not limited to, investment schemes.”