Business

Steve Kaaru

Indian crypto users could face up to 10 years in jail

The latest crypto news out of India spells doom for the faithful in the populous Asian country. In a new report, an inter-ministerial panel set up to look into the crypto industry has suggested a blanket ban on the use of cryptos.

The panel was headed by Subhash Chadra Garg, the secretary for the Department of Economic Affairs. In its 100-page report, which it submitted to the government on July 22, the panel stated:

“The Committee notes with serious concern mushrooming of cryptocurrencies… All these cryptocurrencies have been created by non-sovereigns and are in this sense entirely private enterprises. There is no underlying intrinsic value of these private cryptocurrencies.”

The harsh recommendations didn’t end there according to the report. The panel recommended that the use of cryptos in the country be treated as a criminal offence. “All exchanges, people, traders and other financial system participants should be prohibited from dealing with cryptocurrencies,” the panel proposed in its report.

The punishment is severe, with the report suggesting, “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 for any of the purposes mentioned […] shall be punishable with fine or with imprisonment which shall not be less than one year but which may extend up to ten years, or both.”

And it’s not just the use of cryptos that can get you jailed in India if the recommendations are adopted into law. Advertising will get you up to seven years, with the report stating, “Whoever directly or indirectly promotes, issues any advertisement, solicits, abets or induces any participation in any activity involving the use of Cryptocurrency for any of the purposes shall be punishable with fine or imprisonment which may extend up to seven years or both.”

While the panel was fully against the use of all the other cryptos, it believes that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should approve the use of a digital rupee. “The digital rupee shall be governed by such regulations as may be notified by the RBI and relevant provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.”

Just days ago, the Indian Minister of Finance stated that the government hasn’t banned cryptos in the country. Responding to questions posed about cryptos, he said that while the government doesn’t recognize cryptos as legal tender, it hadn’t banned their use. For now, at least.

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