Anurag Thakur, Indian Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, says that India is not currently considering introducing its own cryptocurrency. This came as part of a series of responses to questions posed by Rajya Sabha, a member of the upper house of India’s parliament.
Another question posed was about the possibility of the digital rupee to which Thakur responded, “No, Sir. It was announced in the Budget Speech of year 2018-19 that the government does not consider crypto-currencies legal tender or coins and will take all measures to eliminate use of these crypto-assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system.”
“The government will explore use of the blockchain technology proactively for ushering in digital economy.”
This response is actually a contradiction of a booklet released by the Reserve Bank of India. That booklet said that the country’s central bank is currently exploring the possibility of a digital version of fiat currency and a means to operationalize it. It also said that the RBI was looking to ban “private cryptocurrencies” as well as exploring the need to issue a central bank digital currency.
Indian Government Focused on Illegal Activities
Nischal Shetty, CEO of Indian crypto exchange WazirX, believes that the answers from Thakur “goes to show that government is focused on curbing illegal activities & payment systems.”
Shetty continued on that “I do not believe there will be a complete ban on crypto in India. Most importantly, no government anywhere in the world will destroy Rs. 7,500+ crore worth of assets belonging to 7 million people.”
Unocoin CEO Sathvik Vishwanath said that “While this does not indicate the future of crypto industry in India. This is evidence that it is moving in a direction favorable to crypto.” Kashaa CEO Kumar Gaurav also weighed in on the situation.
“It is too early to comment on what exactly the term ‘private cryptocurrency’ refers to as per the draft. Further, understanding that cryptocurrency is a global and decentralized system, there is no way any government can ban it.”
“That would require that kind of technology and control, which technically does not rest with anyone. They can certainly ban the legitimate use of crypto which will only make it difficult for a common person who does not understand it to get involved in it,”