India’s Finance Minister told CNBC that the country’s reserve bank is not shutting out cryptocurrencies entirely. She said that while the Reserve Bank of India will decide which unofficial cryptocurrencies will be used and regulated, there will be “a window for experiments” in the industry.
New Lease Of Life For Bitcoin In India
India’s minister of finance, Nirmala Sitharaman, spoke briefly on the country’s standpoint on digital assets in a CNBC virtual townhall. She said that several negotiations are being held with the Reserve Bank of India regarding an impending ban.
A lower parliament in India raised a bill to ban all private cryptocurrencies in January. It said that the move was to facilitate the development of the country’s CBDC, which the RBI will issue and regulate. This did not go down well with cryptocurrency enthusiasts and industry stakeholders in the country. In response, they started an online campaign tagged #IndiaWantsBitcoin to get the RBI to reconsider its stance.
Sitharaman’s remarks suggest that the campaign was quite impactful. She said:
“A lot of negotiations and discussions are happening around the cryptocurrency with the Reserve Bank of India. RBI will be taking a call on what kind of unofficial cryptocurrency will have to be planned and how it has to be regulated. However we want to make sure that there is a window available for all kinds of experiments which will have to take place in the crypto world. There will be a very calibrated position taken. A lot of mixed messages are coming from across the world. World is moving fast with technology, we cannot pretend that we don’t want it.”
Sitting On The Fence
India is renowned for its controversial stance on bitcoin after several “back and forth” regulations. The government had initially banned cryptocurrencies in 2018 after warning investors. The halt was later overturned by the Supreme court. The apex court described the ban as “unconstitutional.”
India’s lower parliament received backlash from the global crypto community for what seemed like a ridiculous exception to its proposed cryptocurrency ban. It said it will “allow for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses.” Regulatory bodies in the country had severally pushed the motion to advance blockchain technology adoption while banning cryptocurrencies.
Its non-committal approach has raised question marks regarding the country’s future in the digital asset space.
Digital Rupee Still In The Picture
Although Sitharaman did not discuss the progress of the digital rupee, the second most populous nation may take a cue from its neighbors, China.
China has continued trials of its digital yuan and has distributed millions of dollars in the digital currency to its citizens.
India’s Reserve bank governor, Shaktikanta Das, said last month that although there is no set date for the launch, the digital rupee was “receiving full attention.”