Government Won’t Take Knee-Jerk Action Against Cryptocurrencies, Will Wait For Report: Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. (NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images) 

After issuing a warning last week against investments in virtual currencies, including bitcoin, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said the government would not take any immediate action against cryptocurrencies, Mint has reported.

“There are such a large number of cryptocurrencies that are operating globally and they can operate from any part of the world. Therefore, rather than taking any knee-jerk action immediately, we are awaiting the report. Once the report comes, only then we will take the measured steps that are required,” he has said.

In 2016, the government had constituted a committee, which had officials from the finance ministry, home ministry and the Reserve Bank of India, to find ways to deal with virtual currencies-related issues such as money-laundering.

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Jaitley, responding to a question in the Rajya Sabja, said the government was waiting for the committee’s report to look into virtual currencies.

The Ministry of Finance had on 29 December issued its fourth notice warning people of possible risks in investing in virtual currencies such as bitcoin.

“There has been a phenomenal increase in recent times in the price of Virtual ‘Currencies’ (VCs) including Bitcoin, in India and globally. The VCs don’t have any intrinsic value and are not backed by any kind of assets. The price of Bitcoin and other VCs therefore is entirely a matter of mere speculation resulting in spurt and volatility in their prices. Consumers need to be alert and extremely cautious as to avoid getting trapped in such Ponzi schemes,” the ministry had said.

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