From exercising caution over Bitcoin cryptocurrency, the Government of India could finally be moving towards compliance.
As per a recent CNBC India report, a committee of finance ministry officials, IT ministry officials, NITI Aayog, and Reserve Bank officials, may be inching closer to legalizing virtual currencies in India.
The Inter-Disciplinary Committee’s report is expected to be announced by the end of July, after which the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) may be asked to step in to regulate transactions.
So, if Bitcoins are legalised in India, the following would happen:
- Bitcoins would fall under the purview of RBI’s 1934 Act.
- Bitcoin investors would be taxed.
- RBI would issue guidelines regarding investment and purchase of Bitcoins.
- If any foreign payment is made through Bitcoins, it would fall under the purview of FEMA Act.
- Returns from investment in Bitcoins would be taxed.
Interestingly, the news comes around the same time when the Bitcoin trade analyst, Chris Burniske, highlighted that trades from India accounted for 10% of global cryptocurrency trade, in May.
He tweeted a chart tracking cryptocurrency trades that show India accounted for 16,754.76 coins by trade volume. It has also been ranked fourth on the Bitcoin cryptocurrency trading market.
Bitcoin and the Indian Government
Over the past few years, despite the lack of regulations in the Indian digital currency industry, a few Bitcoin exchanges have sprung up and started operating with self-regulated trading platforms with strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering systems in place. These include startups like Zebpay, Coinsecure and Unocoin.
These startups have also raised funding from investors and have slowly been building faith in the Bitcoin and digital currency sector despite skepticism from the government.
Verdict : We can soon expect Bitcoin to be officially regulated in India.
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