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India Is Not Banning Cryptocurrency, Here's What It Is Doing Instead

Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley reiterated in the national budget announcement that cryptocurrency will not be accepted as legal tender in India. (Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

It has been a tumultuous week for cryptocurrencies across the globe. While China has blocked crypto exchanges, U.S. banks are steadily declining cryptocurrency purchases. Meanwhile, Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley, during the national finance budget, stated that the country does not recognize Bitcoin as legal tender and steps would be taken to penalize crypto payments, sending cryptocurrency enthusiasts and investors in a tizzy. Shortly after the minister’s statement, the price of Bitcoin fell to a two-month low of less than $7,000.

Jaitley’s comments managed to invoke doubts in India’s crypto community again about legitimacy of trading, except this time, authorities have decided to steer the debate clear of controversy for good.

Shortly after the budget announcement, secretary of economic affairs SC Garg said that the government will set up a panel to examine trading of crypto assets in unregulated exchanges. The panel is expected to submit its findings in a report by the end of March 2018.

Ajeet Khurana, head of the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Committee (BACC) of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) is one among the many people in India working towards spreading awareness on cryptocurrency in India. Following the finance minister’s comments, Khurana revealed that he was happy that cryptocurrency at least found a mention in the country’s national budget. “I recognized that it was a step in the right direction. Having the finance minister say that cryptocurrency isn’t legal tender is perfectly logical –-- every nation barring Japan has taken this stance. It doesn’t mean crypto trading is illegal, but comes with its own risks like any other investm...

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