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Report: India to ban crypto trading, penalise owners

Report: India to ban crypto trading, penalise owners
March 15
12:37 2021

The government of India has proposed to ban cryptocurrencies and fine anyone trading or in possession of the virtual currency, Reuters is reporting.

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The news agency cited an unnamed senior government official, who has direct knowledge of the bill, as saying the bill would criminalise possession, issuance, mining, trading and transferring cryptocurrencies.

The official said the bill would give cryptocurrency holders up to six months to liquidate, after which penalties will be imposed.

According to the official, the government’s plan is to ban private crypto-assets while promoting blockchain – a secure database technology that is the backbone for virtual currencies which experts say could revolutionise international transactions.

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“We don’t have a problem with technology. There’s no harm in harnessing the technology, ” Reuters quoted the official as saying.

In 2019, a panel set up by the Indian government recommended a 10-year jail term for people who mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose of, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies.

The official said discussions were in their final stages but declined to reveal whether the new bill includes jail terms and fines.

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If the ban becomes law, India would be the first major economy to make holding cryptocurrency illegal.

China, Morocco and Iran are countries that have banned buying and selling of digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently directed banks and other financial institutions to close accounts of persons involved in cryptocurrency transactions.

The apex bank urged citizens to desist from use of crypto assets , warning that they are largely used to fund illegal activities.

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