Sentiment Gloomy as India Moves to Criminalize Cryptocurrency Activities

Asia Blockchain Review
September 24, 2019
Sentiment Gloomy as India Moves to Criminalize Cryptocurrency Activities

A possible broad ban on cryptocurrency activity in India has depressed sentiment among members of the sector in the world’s sixth largest economy.

Citing an Economic Times report, Cointelegraph indicated that a “brain drain” is brewing within India’s blockchain and crypto fields in anticipation of legal restrictions.

Legislation Threatens Crypto Users with 10-Year Jail Term

Concerns within India’s crypto sector follow the drafting of the Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019, which is poised to be discussed by lawmakers in the near future. The draft legislation threatens to slap anyone who “mines, generates, holds, sells, transfers, disposes of, issues or deals in cryptocurrencies” with a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Members of the crypto community have reportedly been taken aback by the severity of the proposed punishment, but see the entire document as a warning of the stance being taken by India’s government. 

Industry Members Warn of Lost Assets and Opportunities

According to the Economic Times report, members of the crypto community in India are worried both about the impact that criminalization will have on traders of cryptocurrency and about the loss of important opportunities.

Nischal Shetty, CEO and founder of Indian exchange WazirX, assesses that such a law could affect up to 5 million Indians who own billions of rupees worth of digital assets. 

“As a country largely reliant on the services sector, India will lose its edge as a technological power if the ban on crypto is enforced,” Shetty also warned. “Shunning this industry will mean massive job losses and a brain drain”. 


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