Digital Currency Bill: Crypto startups seek clarity on govt’s proposed ban of ‘private’ cryptocurrencies

MUMBAI: As the Modi government looks to introduce a new bill in the ongoing parliamentary session for India to have its own official digital currency, cryptocurrency startups have scrambled to urge the government to engage them in the decision-making process. According to the bulletin of the Lok Sabha on Friday for the budget session, The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021 bill sought to ban all “private cryptocurrencies” in the country such as bitcoin except “for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses,” the legislation read. The bill, nonetheless, intended to “create a facilitative framework for the creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India.”
The startups are now looking for clarity on the term ‘private’ as cryptocurrencies are based on a distributed and decentralised network that allows them to function beyond the control of the government or any regulatory authorities similar to the internet. “Its success will depend on the details, particularly the definition of what the bill calls ‘private cryptocurrencies’. This is not a common term. Bitcoin is not privately owned by anyone. It is a public good, like the internet,” said Rahul Pagidipati, CEO, ZebPay. “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,” said Kumar Gaurav- Founder and CEO, Cashaa.

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