A number of Indian politicians are reportedly urging the government not to legalize Bitcoin amid reports that the cryptocurrency could soon be regulated and taxed in the country.
According to a report by The Economic Times, India’s biggest financial news daily, ‘many’ politicians across the political divide raised concerns about the possible legalization of bitcoin by the Indian government during a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance.
The Indian Finance Ministry (FinMin) established an intergovernmental committee to study and research legal frameworks of digital currencies around the world. The committee will ultimately recommend a course of action for the regulatory and legal future of digital currencies like bitcoin in India. The government has also invited citizen comments and discussion on virtual currencies on a government portal. The suggestion box has been open for a week and will close tomorrow, May 31.
The politicians, also members of parliament (MPs), reportedly claimed that bitcoin ‘could become a parallel money instrument for cycling black money and dodgy transactions and also a source of terror financing.’
Still, bitcoin achieved the considerable feat of uniting politicians from opposition parties toward their misinformed disdain for the world’s most widely known cryptocurrency.
Kirit Somaiya, a member of India’s ruling right-wing party BJP, demanded to know if virtual currency committee are ‘properly briefing’ India’s prime minister – the leader of the BJP – about the ‘flipside’ of the cryptocurrency. Somaiya has previously raised the subject in the Indian Parliament in March, going so far as to label bitcoin a ‘pyramid ponzi scheme’. In April, he plainly demanded the cryptocurrency to be declared illegal.
Dinesh Trivedi, a politician affiliated with the Congress party, BJP’s traditional rival, reportedly stated during the meeting that “today, data is the new oil and Bitcoin is the ransom finance platform.”
Notably, the MPs also urged finance ministry officials not to legalize the cryptocurrency, according to the report.
As it stands, Indian authorities are planning a regulatory framework for the cryptocurrency which includes taxing adopters. By nearly every account from local reports, bitcoin is set to gain a legal status in India.
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