Outgoing Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya today held an inter-ministerial meeting to examine risks related to virtual currencies like bitcoins. The meeting was attended by home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and representatives from the finance ministry. The government has been debating over the issues concerning bitcoins and in May had sought public opinion on allowing virtual currencies. The circulation of virtual currencies has been a cause of concern among central bankers the world over for quite a while now. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) also cautioned the users, holders and traders of virtual currency, including bitcoins.
Earlier in March, the finance ministry had constituted an inter-disciplinary committee to take stock of the present status of virtual currencies both in India and globally and suggest measures for dealing with such currencies. Bitcoins were in news recently after a massive global ransomware attack triggered by the WannaCry virus that hit systems in over 100 countries. The cyber criminals demanded a fee of around USD 300 in crypto-currencies like bitcoin for unlocking affected devices. Recently, a domestic app-based bitcoin exchange Zebpay said it has five lakh downloads on the Android operating system and was adding more than 2,500 users every day.