India criminalizes Bitcoin trading, moves to squash cryptocurrencies

India criminalizes Bitcoin trading, moves to squash cryptocurrencies

The Indian government is gearing up to pass its draconian bill that would outlaw the possession of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

According to a report by Reuters, the country is expected to move forward with a bill that would criminalize cryptos. If the bill is passed, it would become a crime to trade, mine, or even hold cryptocurrencies in India.

Although the details of the bill are still sketchy, it could become the biggest clampdown on digital assets. While China banned cryptocurrencies in September 2017 and Nigeria asked financial institutions to stop servicing customers linked to crypto trading, no country has criminalized holding or mining digital assets.

Earlier in 2019, Indian officials published a draft bill recommending a jail term of up to ten years for individuals who hold, mine, trade, or issue cryptocurrencies. While the earlier ban by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was overturned, it is still illegal to own digital assets in the country. An excerpt from the earlier draft bill reads:

Whoever directly or indirectly mines, generates, holds, sells, deals in, transfers, disposes of or issues Cryptocurrency or any combination thereof… 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

Amid the clamp down on private cryptocurrencies, the RBI is pushing to launch a digital rupee.

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