India to ban cryptocurrency, penalize holders

India is set to pass a law that would criminalise possession, issuance, mining, trading and transferring crypto-assets, a senior government official told Reuters.

This action follows a government plan to January 2021 that sought to ban private virtual currencies such as bitcoin while building a structure for official digital currency.

The Bill, which is yet to be made public, seeks to give digital currency holders six months to liquidate, after which penalties will be levied.

If the law is passed, India will be the first big economy to make cryptocurrencies illegal.

Biggest cryptocurrency

Bitcoin is considered the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, gaining more acceptance for payments following increased support from high-profile industry executives.

Top Indian officials have described cryptocurrency as a “Ponzi scheme”, while Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been slow in shutting down the use of the digital currency.

In March 2020, India’s Supreme Court declined to give the Central Bank powers stopping banks from handling digital currencies. This prompted investors to rush into the cryptocurrency space.

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Jay Ndungu

Jay is a computer scientist and journalist with a passion for the intersection of technology and society. He has a background in computer science, developing a deep understanding of the technical aspects of the industry, including programming languages and software development methodologies. Currently, He writes for Nairobi Times, covering a wide range of topics including technology, politics, sports, and entertainment. With his unique combination of technical knowledge and journalistic experience, Jay brings a unique perspective to the stories he covers, able to explain complex technical concepts in an easy-to-understand manner. His work is dedicated to bridge the gap between technology and society, and to make people more aware of the potential of technology to make the world a better place.

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