Indian Government Briefs Parliament on Cryptocurrency Bill and Investigations into Crypto Exchanges – Regulation Bitcoin News

The Indian government has provided updates on its proposed cryptocurrency bill and investigations into crypto exchanges to Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s parliament. “Crypto-assets are by definition borderless and require international collaboration to prevent regulatory arbitrage,” the Secretary of State at the Department of Finance said.

Indian Government Responds to Questions on Crypto Bill and Regulations

The Indian government responded to two rounds of questions on cryptocurrency and its regulation on Monday from various members of Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s parliament.

MP Bhartruhari Mahtab asked the Finance Minister to provide “the current status of the Cryptocurrency Bill, which was due to be tabled in the winter 2021 session of Parliament” and “the timeframe within which the cryptocurrency bill would be tabled and will then be open for public input.

Pankaj Chaudhary, Minister Delegate at the Ministry of Finance, replied without giving a specific deadline:

Crypto assets are by definition borderless and require international collaboration to prevent regulatory arbitrage. Therefore, any legislation on the subject can only be effective with meaningful international collaboration on the assessment of risks and benefits and the evolution of common taxonomy and standards.

Mahtab further asked the finance minister to indicate which ministry and/or department would regulate cryptocurrencies and crypto tokens, and which would regulate other types of “virtual digital assets,” such as non-fungible tokens ( NFTs), decentralized applications (dApps), real estate tokens and other blockchain-based assets.

Chaudhary simply replied:

Currently, policy for crypto assets and the related ecosystem falls under the Ministry of Finance.

MPs also demand details of crypto exchanges under investigation

Another set of questions posed by several other Members of Parliament ask for “details of crypto exchanges that are under investigation by the government for money laundering and tax evasion cases.”

Chaudhary explained that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is “investigating several cases related to crypto frauds in which a few crypto exchanges have also been found involved in money laundering.” The Minister explained that as of December 14:

Proceeds of crime amounting to Rs. 907.48 crores have been seized/seized, three people have been arrested and four prosecution complaints have been filed at the Special Court, PMLA, in these cases.

In addition, under the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999 (FEMA), assets amounting to Rs. 289.68 crore ($35,046,152) were seized. Furthermore, a show cause notice has also been issued to Zanmai Labs, which operates crypto exchange Wazirx, and its director under FEMA for transactions involving crypto assets worth Rs. 2,790.74 crores.

The minister added that 12 cryptocurrency exchanges have been investigated for Goods and Services Tax (GST) evasion. So far, Rs 110.97 crore including interest and penalties has been recovered. In addition, eight cases are under further investigation and four cases have been closed. He provided Lok Sabha with the table below:

Indian Government Briefs Parliament on Cryptocurrency Bill and Investigations into Crypto Exchanges
Table provided by Ministry of Finance to answer crypto questions from Lok Sabha MPs.

Chaudhary also clarified:

Currently, crypto assets are unregulated in India. The government does not register crypto exchanges.

Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in October that the government plans to discuss crypto regulation with G20 countries to implement “a technology-driven regulatory framework” for crypto. Ajay Seth, India’s economic affairs secretary, said last week that the G20 countries were aiming to build a political consensus on crypto assets for better global regulation. Last month, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Sitharaman discussed crypto regulations during the ninth meeting of the Economic and Financial Partnership between India and the United States.

What do you think of the Indian government’s approach to cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.

Kevin Helms

An economics student from Austria, Kevin discovered Bitcoin in 2011 and has been an evangelist ever since. His interests include Bitcoin security, open source systems, network effects, and the intersection between economics and cryptography.

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