Cryptocurrency Bill set for Monsoon Session: What we know so far

The government is likely to present the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021 in Parliament during the Monsoon session that begins on July 19.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman earlier this week said that they have done a lot of work on the bill and the Cabinet note is ready. She added that views, perspectives and feedback have been taken from stakeholders.

“We have to see when the Cabinet can take it up and consider it so that then we can move it,” she told The Hindu.

The minister also clarified that a window will be available for fintech, experiment and pilot projects but the final call will be taken by the Cabinet.

Meanwhile, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi had earlier said that over 20 plus bills, including five ordinances, would be tabled during the Monsoon session.

The cryptocurrency bill was listed during the Budget Session as well but could not be tabled as the session was truncated due to the deadly second COVID-19 wave.

The crypto bill, according to its description on the Parliament’s website, aims “to create a facilitative framework for [the] creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India. The bill also seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India, however, it allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses.”

Also Read: Top cryptocurrency exchanges in India. Check details

On May 31, 2021, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had announced that banks would be allowed to facilitate cryptocurrency trades and that the 2018 central bank circular can be ignored as it is no longer valid from the date of the Supreme Court judgment, the RBI said.

The central bank, however, added that banks must continue with other routine due diligence measures on cryptocurrency deals.

Sitharaman, earlier in May, had asserted that a very calibrated position will be taken on crypto and digital currency as the world is moving rapidly with technology.

Also Read: History of the cryptocurrency market in India

Indians have invested around Rs. 49,189 crore (US$ 6.6 billion) in cryptocurrencies till May 2021 vis-à-vis US$ 923 million till April 2020 (an increase of almost 6,600 percent or 6.6x), according to an Analytics Insight report.

As per cryptocurrency adoption and blockchain data firm Chainalysis, India ranks 11th out of 154 countries.

Moreover, one of the leading global crypto exchanges Coinbase has announced its intent to expand Indian operations.

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