With virtual currency gaining traction among investors, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said India does not recognise crypto currency as legal tender. Yesterday, virtual currency bitcoin touched a record high of USD 11,434, before declining 20 per cent. “Recommendations are being worked at. The government’s position is clear, we don’t recognise this as legal currency as of now,” Jaitley said when asked whether the government has taken any decision on crypto currency.
Earlier in August, Jaitley had informed Parliament that there are no regulations governing virtual currencies, including bitcoins, in India and the RBI has not given any licence to any entity/company to operate such currencies.
He had further said that taking cognisance of concerns raised at various fora from time to time on increasing use of virtual currencies (VCs) and the regulatory challenges, the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) constituted a committee with representations from DEA, Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), RBI, Niti Aayog and SBI.
The committee has submitted its report and it is being examined.
Bitcoins were in news recently after a massive global ransomware attack ‘WannaCry’ hit systems in over 100 countries. The cyber criminals demanded a fee of about USD 300 in crypto-currencies like bitcoin for unlocking affected devices.
Recently, bitcoin exchange start-up BitBox announced introduction of the advanced marketplace for buying bitcoins in India. The exchange provides access to high liquidity order book for BTC/INR pair which allows an individual to buy or sell bitcoins instantly.