Zebpay said India may tighten the rules instead of banning them outright

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India will propose a new cryptocurrency bill in Parliament, and investors are trying to figure out what this might mean for the future of virtual currencies in South Asia’s largest economy.

An executive of Zebpay, one of India’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, said that legislators may eventually choose to impose strict supervision on the cryptocurrency market instead of banning private tokens outright.

Zebpay’s co-CEO Avinash Shekhar said in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Thursday: “I believe we will have some kind of coherent supervision, but it will be more stringent.”

A parliamentary communique dated November 23 shows that the government plans to introduce a new bill aimed at regulating digital currencies at the beginning of the parliament’s winter meeting beginning on Monday.

Through the bill, India is seeking to ban most private cryptocurrencies and establish a framework to create an official digital currency issued by the Reserve Bank of India. However, the announcement stated that it will allow “promotion of the underlying technology and use of cryptocurrency under certain exceptional circumstances.”

…The feeling we get from the government is that they are seeking some kind of regulation, strict regulation, but not a total prohibition.

The central bank is considering using the digital Indian rupee, which is reported to be piloted in the second quarter of 2022.

Shekhar told CNBC that in the past eight to nine months, after officials consulted various stakeholders, including cryptocurrency exchange operators, the government’s stance on cryptocurrencies has changed.

“The government has a lot of positive resonance. About two weeks ago, we met with the Parliamentary Finance Committee,” he said. “The message or feeling we get from the government is that they are seeking some kind of regulation-strict regulation, but not a total prohibition.”

Reuters quoted a senior government official as reporting that in March this year, India was considering enacting a law banning cryptocurrencies, imposing fines on anyone conducting transactions in the country, and even holding such digital assets.

According to the news agency, New Delhi’s position has changed slightly since then, and it is now trying to prevent cryptocurrency transactions by imposing high capital gains and other taxes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Narendra Modi) delivered a keynote speech at the Sydney Dialogue of the Australian Institute of Strategic Policy this month. He said that all democracies must work together on cryptocurrencies to “ensure that it will not Falling into the wrong hands, this will destroy our youth.”

When the Hindustan Times asked whether Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman should own her own cryptocurrency, she reportedly said: “We must be cautious; but we must think carefully.”

Shekhar from Zebpay said that officials have been talking about strict supervision because “they obviously want to control this and don’t let cryptocurrency become a currency, so to speak.”

Read more about cryptocurrencies from CNBC Pro

He explained that potential regulations must meet the needs of Indian retail investors-although there are no official data, media reports indicate that there are approximately 15 to 20 million cryptocurrency investors in the country.

“On the other hand, what has not been talked about too much is technological innovation,” Shekhar said, adding that many innovators are still waiting to enter the cryptocurrency market.

“With the introduction of regulation, I think this will be a major area, and I think India will create multi-billion dollar companies,” he added.


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