FM snubs cryptocurrencies, no mention in Budget 2019
The much-debated cryptocurrencies did not find any mention in finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s maiden budget speech, as anticipated by various stakeholders in the industry.
Experts tracking the space said its not bad news for the industry since it could mean the government is taking time to understand the importance of this currency, and may not rush into taking a decision anytime soon.
“I’m happy that there was no hasty crypto-related announcement. Since our FM and PM were involved in the recent G20 meetings where the FATF crypto standards were shared with all the participating nations, I’m sure India is on its way to bring about a positive change in crypto regulations,” said Nischal Shetty, founder of crypto exchange WazirX.
Industry insiders had been worried since it was reported in April that the draft of the ‘Banning of Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies Bill 2019’ has been circulated to all relevant departments. Further, media reports suggested that holding, selling or dealing in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin could entail 10 years in jail.
“At the moment we are glad that there isn’t a rushed acceptance of the rumoured ban proposal, as was feared by some. Hopefully, the stakeholders are taking the time to study the issue in conjunction with recent G20 and FATF pronouncements that can address most concerns,” said Nitin Sharma, an angel investor and founder of Incrypt Blockchain.
“The Ministry of Finance and The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology should also look to engage with these startups to understand the loss in jobs, capital, and innovation,” Sharma added.
However, a few stakeholders remain worried about the government’s stand on the issue. “The fact that government has not allocated a budget could also mean that it is waiting for the Garg committees report on whether digital assets ecosystem will contribute positively or negatively to the economy,” said Akshay Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of Blockchained India, an organization with 20,000 industry members.
This also makes the court case hearing about the cryptocurrency-banking ban, set to be heard later this month, significantly more crucial for the industry, experts said.
Source: ET Tech