Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has declared that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not legal tender. The official statement from a top governmental figure left many Indian crypto-enthusiasts disheartened.
Asked by the press about the Indian government’s stance on Bitcoin as the bellwether cryptocurrency crossed the $11,000 USD mark, Jaitley asserted that, “You are 24-hours late, the price has since fallen significantly. As far as the Indian Government’s stance is concerned, we have not given any legitimacy to cryptocurrency. Yes, we have received the report, and it is under examination.”
Jaitley was acutely right about the price, at least.
BTC did cross the notable $11,000 threshold before retracing by 20 percent immediately thereafter on November 29th. His point was short-lived and narrow, though, as the bitcoin price has rallied up once more — hovering just under $11,000 at press time.
Regardless of this resiliency, recent signals from Indian government officials clearly suggest crackdowns on the use of virtual currencies in the nation are on the horizon.
Jaitley went on to say that working groups are plotting paths forward — critical paths:
“Recommendations are being worked at. The government’s position is clear, we don’t recognize this as legal currency as of now.”
Additionally, Jaitley, also a minister of corporate affairs, said the government’s stance is still precisely in line with the Reserve Bank of India’s 2013 press release on cryptocurrencies.
The RBI statement noted that, “The Reserve Bank of India has cautioned users, holder, and traders of virtual currencies, including Bitcoins, about the potential financial, operational, legal, customer protection and security related risks that they are exposing themselves to.”
Flash forward to April this year, wherein reports indicated the Indian government was close to forming cryptocurrency law. Officials established an interdisciplinary council to extensively research and prepare cryptocurrency regulations to frame a robust ecosystem.
Many crypto enthusiasts were hopeful that the council was a positive advancement toward forming liberalized regulations and making cryptos a legal currency. However, it seems Arun Jaitley’s statement has dampened these hopes for now.
Ultimately, the Indian government is still in review mode and cryptocurrencies, even if though they’ve already technically been illegalized in the country and even though Indian exchanges like Zebpay and Coinsecure continue their operations.
Per World Bank statistics, India is the biggest remittance market in the world.
Annually, Indian expats send payments over $70 billion. Surely that the Indian remittance market would eventually gravitate toward bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies if the government were to legalize them.
A successful example to look to for legalization would be the Philippines. The Philippines is the third largest remittance market in the world — and since the Philippines’ government legalized bitcoin as a payment method, the crypto market has seen a sizeable growth in the country.
Don’t you think It is high-time the Indian government clears its stand on cryptocurrencies? Let us know below!
Images via Coinbase, News Time Now