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Government concerned over crypto use for laundering, terror | India News

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NEW DELHI: The government is looking at “forward looking and progressive” regulation of cryptocurrency with government sources making it clear that an unregulated market for digital currency cannot be allowed to become avenues for money laundering and terror financing.
Following a meeting chaired by PM Narendra Modi on Saturday, it emerged there was a strong view that attempts to mislead the youth through non-transparent advertising, that “over-promises”, needed to be stopped.
While the government and the RBI have been discussing legislation for several months now, there has been a spurt in interest in cryptocurrency with many individuals, including senior citizens investing in private digital currencies. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has consistently maintained the need to ban private digital currency.
The PM’s meeting comes in the backdrop of expectations that the government may soon pilot a Bill, something it had planned during the Budget session to “prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India”.
Following the meeting, official sources said, the government will keep a close watch and take proactive steps as it was cognisant of the fact this is an evolving technology. While looking to engage with experts and other stakeholders, those who attended the meeting were also of the view that regulation will require global partnerships and collective strategies.
The sources said that the PM held a comprehensive meeting on the way forward for cryptocurrency and related issues. This followed a consultative process as the RBI, finance ministry and the home ministry had carried out an elaborate exercise on the issues and consulted experts from across the country and the world. Global examples and best practices were also looked at.
In 2019, the government had appointed an inter-ministerial panel headed by then economic affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg which had backed a ban on private cryptocurrencies. Since then there has been intense discussions on the issue while the sector has lobbied hard to prevent a complete ban.
Earlier this year, the RBI had conveyed its decision to seek a ban on such instruments after having already expressed its serious concerns. While asserting that the technology of blockchain should be encouraged, the central bank has questioned the purpose of cryptocurrencies to be labelled as a currency. It has said that a currency is a sovereign right and cannot be assigned to any individual entity. The issue of these instruments being legal is also yet to be settled. Besides, there are concerns about volatility in their price apart from their impact on the economy.
The central bank has also raised security risks linked to cryptocurrencies, saying it could give rise to money laundering and terror financing because of the anonymity of the transactions. The RBI has also pointed to the dangers to macroeconomic management if these instruments are allowed as they would pose “serious risks” to the financial system of the country.
Earlier this year, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had told a TV channel that not all windows for cryptocurrencies will be shut down and a cabinet note was being readied to formulate the next steps on the issue.



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