The latest remarks from India’s Finance Minister have raised questions on the recent crypto ban
India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on CNBC on Friday that the Indian government was still inclined to consider an experiment in the crypto sector. Her assertion that the government is liberal on the crypto matter makes it difficult to explicitly understand the country’s standpoint regarding digital assets.
“A lot of negotiations and discussions are happening around the cryptocurrency with the Reserve Bank of India,” she said. “RBI will be taking a call on what kind of unofficial cryptocurrency will have to be planned and how it has to be regulated. However, we want to make sure that there is a window available for all kinds of experiments […] in the crypto world.”
Sitharaman added that the country was looking to align itself with the fast-growing technological advancements in the digital asset industry.
“A lot of mixed messages are coming from across the world. World is moving fast with technology, we cannot pretend that we don’t want it.”
India has swung back and forth on the crypto matter for over three years now. The government first disallowed cryptos in 2018. The proscription was, however, lifted in March last year. This was after the Supreme Court overturned the Reserve Bank of India’s decision citing “unconstitutional” grounds.
Earlier this year, a bill looking to ban all private cryptocurrencies in India was brought forward in the country’s parliament. The bill argued that banning crypto would create a favourable environment for the development of a digital currency. It also featured a somewhat unorthodox exception suggesting the RBI will “allow for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses.”
It, of course, didn’t sit right with crypto users in the country who took to social media to protest. The ardent crypto supporters even started a campaign dubbed #IndiaWantsBitcoin to push against the bill.
Her comments could potentially give crypto a resurgence in India. Still and all, the positive remarks have neither brought clarity nor addressed the disputed viewpoint on crypto that India has become synonymous with of late.
Sitharaman did not divulge any details on the progress of the country’s digital currency, the digital rupee. The last update on the matter was from Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das who averred it was still a priority.