India May Start Treating Bitcoin as an Asset Instead of Banning it

By Bill Toulas / June 14, 2021

India’s stance towards cryptocurrencies has been somewhat aggressive lately, as back in January, a bill came forth for discussions aiming to straight out ban the ownership of cryptos in the country. Although this hasn’t been approved yet, as it’s still under discussion, there’s a new report that comes from internal sources from within the Finance Ministry claiming that the country will instead choose to classify some cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as an asset. This means that it won’t get banned but regulated and taxed instead.

If that happens, the body that would undertake the regulation of this space would be the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), which is currently developing the regulatory context and studies the ledgers. The same sources claim that a completely new law proposal will be ready for submission as soon as by next month to catch the “Monsoon session” in the parliament and move it forward as soon as possible.

This has obviously been met with enthusiasm by cryptocurrency exchange operators who are seeing crypto as a big chance for India instead of an unmanageable risk. It is certainly a sensitive topic that is underpinned by a host of technical complexities and challenges, and much will depend upon the strictness of the new regulatory context that is to be proposed.

Support for this kind of approach has also been voiced by Nandan Nilekani, founder of Infosys, an IT services provider that is being contracted by the Indian government, and one of the key individuals behind the “Aadhaar” system. So, there is definitely a wave of influential persons pushing for the plan to treat cryptocurrencies as an asset, but how far these voices will be heard remains to be seen.

Whatever India decides to do with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, one thing is certain: it'll be a decision that's bound to have a huge impact on these ledgers. India is a huge market with amazing potential, and the volatile nature of these digital coins makes them vulnerable to turbulence that comes in the form of new legislation from such behemoth countries.

Bitcoin and Ethereum have both experienced a nose-dive in their value recently, taking hits from multiple fronts, but have somewhat stabilized for now. India’s decision on how to treat them has the power to either destabilize them further or cement their status like never before.

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