India Proposes 10-Year Jail Sentence for Using Cryptocurrencies

Asia Blockchain Review
June 23, 2019

Indian lawmakers have proposed a bill banning cryptocurrency trading, which could impose severe criminal penalties for violations, according to a June 6th report by Bloomberg Quint.

Harsh Penalties Prescribed by India’s Anti-Crypto Bill

Should the ‘Banning Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019’ become law, mining, generating, holding, buying, selling or dealing in cryptocurrencies “directly or indirectly” will become illegal in the country.

The offense would be deemed “cognizable and non-bailable.” Those breaking the new rules may face up to 10 years in prison as well as hefty fines up to three times their gains.

“The penalty imposed on the accused, according to the bill, shall be either thrice the loss caused to the system, or three-fold the gains made by him/her, whichever is higher,” Bloomberg Quint reports. “If the loss or gain can’t be reasonably determined, the maximum fine that can be imposed may be notified by the government.”

Implications for Crypto Traders and Their Digital Assets

If the bill is enacted, cryptocurrency holders will have 90 days to declare and relinquish their cryptocurrencies from the date of promulgation “in accordance with the prescription of central government.”

As earlier reported, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg led the panel working on the bill. The panel included representatives of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the Central Board of Direct Taxes, and investigative agencies.

However, the new bill also proposed creating a new official cryptocurrency — the Digital Rupee. The bill comes after a statement earlier this year by the RBI, claiming it was no longer planning to issue a digital currency.


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