Speaking to CNBC TV18, BJP leader Jayant Sinha has expressed his views on the future of cryptocurrencies in India. While responding to a question on opportunities and risks around cryptocurrency, he says that India is the leader globally in financial regulations. The tremendous number of entrepreneurs we have, the deep technical talent and the outstanding regulatory framework that the government has put together has made us the world leader. Therefore it is very important for us to be able to harness the force of crypto technology and enable it for our domestic users in a balanced way. It is an opportunity and it will enable us to build a very large crypto industry in India. It will create jobs and wealth in India.
Mr Sinha also emphasised the fact that there are things that you can do with crypto and you can’t do with anything else. For example, any transaction done on the crypto platform can not be repudiated. You can link it up with global systems which you cannot do otherwise. So, there are serious benefits to crypto technologies.
He also summarised the risks involved. The risks are in these five buckets: investor protection, fiscal stability, monitory policy, capital control and preventing illegible finance.
Earlier in the day, a parliamentary panel, chaired by BJP leader Jayant Sinha, on Monday discussed the pros and cons of crypto finance with various stakeholders, and several members were in favour of regulating cryptocurrency exchanges rather than imposing an outright ban on cryptocurrencies, according to sources.
The meeting took place against the backdrop of rising concerns in various quarters about cryptocurrencies and the possible risks emanating from trading in them, especially since there is a growing interest in such assets worldwide. Currently, there are neither specific regulations nor an outright ban on the use of cryptocurrencies in the country.
Representatives of crypto exchanges, Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC), industry bodies, and academicians and other stakeholders submitted their views before the panel, whose meeting also happened days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held discussions with senior officials from various ministries and RBI on the issue of cryptocurrencies.
This is the first meeting on the subject that was convened by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance. The panel is chaired by Mr Sinha, who is also a former Minister of State for Finance.
The sources said that broadly the panel members wanted regulations for cryptocurrency exchanges and were not in favour of banning cryptocurrencies.
Some Congress members in the panel told PTI that there are significant challenges in banning cryptocurrencies.
The broad view of the panel was that a Chinese wall should be put in place on crypto currencies’ fungiblity in the real world and its interface with the real world should be regulated, they added.
Currency is a domain of the sovereign whereby its value is fixed in an assured manner and cryptocurrency is a computer programme managed in distributed format on the internet. Its value is only discovered by a buyer and user on an exchange which itself is illegal, they noted.
One of the members even wondered how cryptocurrencies are going to be regulated when even regulating the internet remains difficult.
Members also expressed concerns about the possibility of cryptocurrencies being used for financing terror activities.
In the morning, panel Chairman Sinha said the meeting on crypto finance will discuss the opportunities and challenges this fast-evolving industry presents to the regulators and policymakers.
“We have called stakeholders from across the industry, including operators of major exchanges, members of CII as well as academics from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad, who has done a very thorough study on the crypto finance,” Sinha told PTI.
Further, he said the panel has called representatives from the India Internet and Mobile Association of India, of which Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC), a specific body that deals with crypto finance players.
“We will hear from them about their views on the right regulatory framework for this industry as it continues to develop and evolve,” he said.
On March 4, 2020, the Supreme Court set aside an RBI circular of April 6, 2018, prohibiting banks and entities regulated by it from providing services in relation to virtual currencies.
On February 5, 2021, the central bank instituted an internal panel to suggest a model for the central bank’s digital currency.
The RBI had announced its intent to come out with an official digital currency amid the proliferation of cryptocurrencies about which the central bank has concerns.