Over the past few years, India and bitcoin has had a positive relationship as the decentralized currency has grown in popularity within the country. Now a few regional news outlets are reporting that India’s government may be preparing to legalize and regulate bitcoin as a form of payment this summer.
A Verdict Deciding the Future Legality of Bitcoin in India
According to local news reports and India’s CNBC broadcast, Indian government officials are in the process of possibly giving bitcoin legal status. Just recently India’s parliamentary inter-ministerial committee held its first meeting to discuss bitcoin and virtual currency use in the country. Authorities have noticed the vast volumes of bitcoin being traded by Indian citizens lately. The Indian publication Money Control reported that a member of the committee stated bitcoin legality would soon be decided by the country’s officials.
“There will be more discussions; a verdict will be declared soon on the legality of the cryptocurrency in India,” the committee spokesperson said. However, the source also told the publication if leaders decide to ban bitcoin then trading platforms operating in the region will be forced to close operations.
India’s Parliamentary Committee Will Reveal Its Findings This May
During the parliamentary session, sources say quite a few officials had a positive outlook towards bitcoin while some disliked the cryptocurrency entirely. However, the beneficial attributes of bitcoin seemed to have swayed some members of the committee and lawmakers enough for them to consider amending the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act. Furthermore, the committee also discussed the possibility of taxation methods towards virtual currencies.
The inter-ministerial committee plans to reveal its research development during the end of May which could propose virtual currency legislation in the near future.
Reserve Bank of India and Ministry of Finance is ‘Watching and Learning About the Development of Bitcoin’
The news follows this past February’s RBI statements towards bitcoin in a negative light. The central bank did not update the country’s Payment and Settlement Systems Act to include cryptocurrencies this year. However other local reports in the region state the RBI is watching the decentralized currency closely and gathering insight on its behavior.
“As of now we are watching and learning about the developments of Bitcoin but are not regulating it,” a RBI spokeswoman explained.
Alongside the parliamentary sessions, the Indian Ministry of Finance revealed on April 12 the creation of a government think tank dedicated to researching virtual currencies. The newly created committee plans to publish a report on cryptocurrencies in three months. Bitcoin businesses such as exchanges are doing quite well in the region, and Localbitcoins volumes continue to soar in India.
Many bitcoin proponents hope Indian officials will recognize bitcoin in the same way Japan did on April 1. On the other hand, some of the country’s top officials like the Indian Parliament Member Kirit Somaiya may not agree with legislation that favors bitcoin legalization. Somaiya is one Indian official that has been very outspoken against Japan’s bitcoin legalization and he believes the cryptocurrency is a Ponzi.