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India to Consider Imprisonment for Holding Crypto

India to Consider Imprisonment for Holding Crypto

Source: iStock/Itsabby94

The Indian government will weigh the recommendations to ban cryptocurrencies in the country and introduce imprisonment up to ten years for dealing with crypto, the Department of Economic Affairs of the Government of India confirmed today.

“<…> Draft Bill will now be examined in consultation with all the concerned Departments and Regulatory Authorities, before the Government takes a final decision,” the Department said in the press release, referring to a report and the draft bill prepared by Inter-Ministerial Committee in February 2019.

The press release confirmed previous unsourced reports that anybody who mines, holds, or sells cryptocurrencies might be punished with a jail term if the new proposal is accepted. Furthermore, the announcement also confirmed that India also might launch their national coin: “The Group has also proposed that the Government keeps an open mind on official digital currency.”

However, the authors of the report gave also proposed to “establish a Standing Committee to revisit the issues addressed in the Report as and when required.”

Some of the key points in the report:

  • The Committee recommends that all private cryptocurrencies, except cryptocurrency issued by the State, be banned in India.
  • The Committee also recommends that all exchanges, people, traders and other financial system participants should be prohibited from dealing with cryptocurrencies.
  • The Committee has recommended a law banning the cryptocurrencies in India and criminalizing carrying on of any activities with cryptocurrencies in India.

Offences:

  • “Whoever directly or indirectly mines, generates, holds, sells, deals in, transfers disposes of or issues Cryptocurrency or any combination thereof with an intent to use it <…> shall be punishable with fine of with imprisonment which shall not be less one year but which may extend up to ten years, or both<…>”
  • Whoever directly or indirectly promotes, issues any advertisement, solicits, abets or induces any participation in any activity involving the use of Cryptocurrency <…> shall be punishable with fine or imprisonment which may extend up to seven years or both.

Previous reports by local media indicated that the draft bill may be softened and “mild punishment” might be included in the draft bill for the individuals who are using cryptocurrencies on a “non-commercial basis.”

At pixel time (13:17 UTC), bitcoin trades at. c. USD 10,529, or almost unchanged in the past 24 hours.

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