Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday chaired a meeting to consider the regulatory prospects for cryptocurrencies with the RBI brass and the Ministries of Home Affairs and Finance, where a strong consensus was reached to stop “attempts to mislead the youth through over-promising & non-transparent advertising”.
Noting that unregulated crypto markets cannot be allowed to become avenues for money laundering and terror financing, the meeting concluded that a close watch and pro-active steps are necessary for the sector, senior Government sources said.
“There was consensus also that the steps taken in this field by the Government will be progressive & forward looking,” a source said, stressing that it will continue to pro-actively engage with experts and stakeholders.
“Since the issue cuts across individual countries’ borders, it was felt that it will also require global partnerships and collective strategies.”
The meeting comes ahead of a parliamentary committee hearing on Monday with industry experts on the challenges and opportunities that cryptocurrencies throw up.
The Finance Ministry has been tight-lipped on the progress of the Cryptocurrency Bill which had been readied for the Union Cabinet’s approval as far back as August, as per earlier statements by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The Bill is now expected to be tabled in the winter session of Parliament that begins on November 29.
On Friday, the Ministry’s top brass shied away from queries about who would be held responsible if investors betting on crypto assets were to make heavy losses.
With advertisements for cryptocurrency exchanges and trading on their platforms proliferating across the country, particularly during the recent cricket events, the Government has been expected to bring in some regulatory framework to rein them in and ensure investors don’t lose their savings.
In the absence of a clear regulatory framework, even as several investors, especially the youth, have been betting on cryptocurrencies for seemingly easy returns, there’s still uncertainty on the Government’s treatment for the same.
While the Supreme Court has lifted the ban on trading of cryptocurrencies imposed by the central bank, the RBI continues to have concerns over them.
Saturday’s meeting was an outcome of a consultative process between the RBI, the Finance and the Home Ministries with experts on cryptocurrency in India and abroad. “The Government is cognizant of the fact that this is an evolving technology and global examples and best practices were also looked at,” the source said.