India’s Finance Minister has said the upcoming digital currency bill will aim to protect investors from the volatility in digital currency markets, in the latest commentary on the ongoing progress of the legislation.
Indian Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Anurag Thakur, said the government would put investors at the forefront of their legislative effort, though it remains unclear exactly how they intend to protect investors.
“The fluctuations in the price of cryptocurrencies are so high—unlike that of fiat currencies—and that has an impact on the investors. So we need to keep investor protection in mind while framing a law.”
The long-awaited digital currency bill was originally due to be presented to parliament last week. However, the introduction was delayed, which the minister attributed to local elections.
Despite the protestations of ministers, the digital currency community in India remains sceptical of the government’s intentions.
Zakhil Suresh, founder of SuperStox, said there were suspicions the government was reserving the option to ban digital currency outright: “The minister was specifically asked whether the government considered banning crypto or not but he dodged the question. Why build so much suspense around this? Just say what you’re planning to do—just as the government does with most other bills.”
The bill is now expected to be presented in the summer session of parliament, further deferring the impacts of the long-trailed legislation.
There is also the suggestion the law could be introduced directly by the Indian President by ordinance, though this is thought the less likely route.
The eventual measures are expected to follow on from the government’s harsh approach to the sector in previous rounds of draft proposals, including criminal penalties of up to 10 years in prison for the direct or indirect use of digital currencies.
The digital currency community now awaits the Indian government’s next move.
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