Business

Steve Kaaru

Draft law seeks 10-year jail term for crypto dealing in India

Dealing in cryptocurrencies in India could soon land you in jail for up to ten years. According to multiple reports, several state departments have endorsed a draft bill that seeks to stamp out cryptocurrencies in the populous nation. The bill will impose hefty fines as well, up to three times the gains realized from one’s crypto venture.

Known as the ‘Banning Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019′, it deems dealing in crypto a cognizable and non-bailable offence. It specifically outlines that mining, holding, generating, selling, buying or dealing in cryptos directly or indirectly will be illegal in India.

It proposes a 10-year prison sentence for offenders. Moreover, according to a report by Bloomberg Quint, the fines will be hefty. The publication reported: “The penalty imposed on the accused, according to the bill, shall be either thrice the loss caused to the system, or three-fold the gains made by him/her, whichever is higher. If the loss or gain can’t be reasonably determined, the maximum fine that can be imposed may be notified by the government.”

The bill has long been in the pipelines, with the panel being led by Subhash Chandra Garg, the Economic Affairs Secretary. The panel also included representatives from the Securities and Exchanges Board of India, the Central Board of Taxes and more.

The ban, if it becomes law, could have an adverse effect on crypto trading in India, a country that has a history of hostility towards digital currencies. The country’s Reserve Bank has in the past sought to deny crypto-related companies access to financial services, ordering all commercial banks to cease any relationship with crypto ventures.

However, there are those who believe that the ban could prove to be an opportunity for the crypto industry to thrive. One of them is Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance who tweeted:

Jameson Lopp, a renowned SegWitCoin BTC developer likened the ban to a similar, but less harsh, crypto ban in China. Despite the Chinese government banning the trading of cryptos, it has emerged that the Chinese over-the-counter market is still very strong, with investors paying extra to acquire cryptos.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as SegWitCoin BTC coins. Altcoins, which value privacy, anonymity, and distance from government intervention, are referenced as dark coins.

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