Indian government to make Bitcoin legality decision

The Indian government could make a decision on the legality of Bitcoin as early as the end of the month.

According to a report from MoneyControl, a government official close to developments says that a new committee has been created to study cryptocurrency. The source adds that the new group has been given a deadline for its findings of 20th April 2017.

Bitcoin buying, selling, trading or mining is not illegal in India, and the report’s source notes that a rule on illegality would shut down an already flourishing cryptocurrency industry.

Digital currency was in the new across India last week when a prominent politician labelled Bitcoin as a “pyramid ponzi scheme” during a session in the country’s parliament.

Kirit Somaiya, a member of the country’s ruling BJP party, said last week that “there is [an] urgent need to have a study on development of Bitcoin in India”. A lack of a regulator could cause harm to people using Bitcoin, he added, and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should step in to “save people from another big fraud”.

Reverse on regulation

India already has its own self-regulatory watchdog, the Digital Asset and Blockchain Foundation of India (DABFI). The group has previously approached the Indian government to educate them about cryptocurrency.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank, has also not reached out to leading exchanges. According to Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO of leading Indian exchange UnoCoin, no exploratory work has been done on regulation.

A petition by the Indian Bitcoin community urging lawmakers to name Bitcoin legal by definition has also gained 10,000 signatures in just under a week.

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