Lawmakers in India have proposed a crypto bill that is considered by many to be ludicrous. The country is clamping down on cryptocurrency with an extreme proposal that would make Bitcoin and crypto ownership completely illegal. Those caught holding, mining, owning, or trading any digital asset could face a prison sentence of 10 years.
The bill coincides with the country’s plan to launch its own state-backed cryptocurrency—the Digital Rupee. The message is clear; people will have to engage with crypto the government’s way or not at all.
India’s Proposed Crypto Bill
The bill proposes that anyone involved in the crypto ecosystem should face criminal punishment. Any persons who “mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose of, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies, directly or indirectly” would face a 10-year prison sentence.
So severe is the punishment that those caught committing the crimes would face “non-bailable” sentences.
The draft crypto bill was first sourced by BloombergQuint. The source goes on to say that the courts will use four criteria when sentencing someone. They are as follows:
- Culpability of the accused
- Actual and intended gain made, and loss caused
- Repetitive nature of the offense
- Harm caused to the system
The lawmakers are even going as far as using the accused’s crypto profits against them. Any incurred fines from the criminal act will be three times as much as the profit made in the first place.
According to BloombergQuint:
“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. If the loss or gain can’t be reasonably determined, the maximum fine that can be imposed may be notified by the government.”
Should the bill be passed, anyone with Bitcoin or cryptocurrency will have to declare it and then get rid of it in 90 days. Further, the bill seeks to amend the Prevention of Money Laundering Act of 2002, to include all cryptocurrency and blockchain related activities.
Where Does the Crypto Bill Leave the Digital Rupee?
In a rather hypocritical move, the government’s own cryptocurrency, the Digital Rupee, is exempt from such stringent laws.
The reason is the close ties to the country’s leading bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), that this cryptocurrency would have. Both the central government and RBI will consult over the launch of the Digital Rupee.
Until now, RBI has been anti-cryptocurrency and blockchain. In 2018 it prohibited any RBI-regulated institutions from processing cryptocurrency purchases.
The proposed crypto bill puts to bed any hopes that India may adopt and regularize cryptocurrency.
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