Cryptocurrency bill won’t be introduced in winter session, say sources

CNBC, December 20, 2021

The cryptocurrency bill will not be introduced in the winter session of Parliament, government sources told CNBC-TV18 on Monday. The government is gathering feedback on international regulations for the cryptocurrency sector, people in the know said.

“The government wants to see how global standards on cryptocurrencies evolve in the EU and other jurisdictions,” the sources said. Meanwhile, the government and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are consulting the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) about the evolving cryptocurrency framework.

The development comes almost a month after the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, was listed in the government’s legislative business of the winter session. The bill seeks to prohibit all private cryptos and create a framework for the official digital currency to be issued by RBI.

Earlier in November, the first-ever parliamentary panel on cryptocurrencies led by BJP MP and former Union Minister Jayant Sinha gathered views from the representatives of crypto exchanges, Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC), industry bodies, and other stakeholders on crypto finance.

However, according to sources, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance is unlikely to hold another meeting on cryptos unless the bill is introduced in the house, sources said.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for united efforts to shape global norms for emerging technologies like cryptocurrencies so that they are used to “empower” democracy and not to “undermine” it. Prior to this, Modi had in November too urged democratic nations to work together to ensure that the cryptocurrency does not end up in the wrong hands.

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das too earlier this month had reiterated his views against allowing cryptocurrencies, saying they are a serious threat to any financial system since they are unregulated by central banks.

Meanwhile, Gita Gopinath, the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in an interview with CNBC-TV18 last week said, there is a need for urgent global standards on how to deal with cryptocurrency. She, however, said an outright ban will be difficult to execute.

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