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Fact Check: Does India Want to Jail Cryptocurrency Traders and Miners?

Barely a few days after a refusal from government to answer questions about a Cryptocurrency regulation bill, a new report now claims to have seen the draft bill known as “Banning of Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019”.

The Draft Bill proposes a penalty along with a jail term of up to 10 years, for those who “mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies directly or indirectly”. Offences such as these would be “cognisable and non-bailable”, says the report.

Before you panic, please understand even if the news is entirely true, this is a draft bill, which means, it can be changed in the future. Even if it is not changed, it has to be approved by both parliament houses, for it to actually become an act. Now, please read the rest of the article as a possible distant future scenario, not current.

The Bill is drafted with recommendations from a panel headed by Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg and comprises members from the Reserve bank of India, Securities and Exchange Board of India, Central Board of Direct Taxes, investigative agencies, among others. 

The Finance Secretary was quoted last year to submit the bill in July 2018, which got further delayed with multiple tentative dates of submission. The bill hasn’t been made public yet.

If a violation under the Act is done by a corporate body, the director, members of managing committee, chief executive officer, manager, among other executives, will be held liable according to the report.

It also seeks to protect action taken by central government officers in “good faith” under the Act from legal proceedings.

What if you are Holding Cryptocurrency?

The report says, everyone holding cryptocurrencies will be given 90 days to declare and dispose them off.

The draft bill proposes to amend the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, in accordance to earlier reports, to include mining and generation of tokens as well as buying, selling and trading of cryptocurrencies.

Rupee Cryptocurrency

The central government may approve digital rupee to be a legal tender, in consultation with the RBI’s central board. It would be a government issued digital currency equivalent to INR.

The digital rupee would be governed by regulations that will be notified by the central bank under relevant provisions of RBI Act, 1934, the draft bill said as per the report.

However, on Thursday lawyer and advisor Varun Sethi, popularly known as Blockchain lawyer in India, disclosed a reply from RBI to his RTI application. The RBI categorically denied any knowledge of the proposed draft bill for banning cryptocurrencies.

Crypto community in India may feel distort about the news and many have raised their voices on social media already. Some are even claiming that the news is a clickbait to woo Crypto community into paying for a subscription to the news portal. The article is currently behind a paywall and one has to pay INR 18 to read it.

We don’t believe in stealing news, the report cited in the article written by BloombergQuint is behind a paywall. We have paid for the article before citing it. We have also taken care that only essential information is shared on Coin Crunch India and users must pay and read the original article for more info. We do not support plagiarism but we do believe in free information sharing for the good of the community. If the publisher has any concerns, please write to the us at contact(at)coincrunch(dot)in.

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