India to ban private cryptocurrency, create official version instead

Description of new 'Official Digital Currency Bill' appears to allow general use of blockchain


India’s government appears set to ban private cryptocurrencies.

News of the ban emerged in a Bulletin [PDF] that lists bills to be debated in the winter session of the Lok Sabha, India’s Parliament, which resumes for its winter sittings next week.

The tenth bill on the list is titled “The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021”. While the legislation itself has not been revealed, the Bulletin describes the Bill’s purpose as follows:

To create a facilitative framework for creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India. The Bill also seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India; however, it allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses.

In July 2021, the deputy governor of India’s Reserve Bank suggested central bank digital currencies have enormous potential and India can’t afford to be left behind. The Bill suggests that argument has been accepted by India’s government, which has decided to develop the regulations for a CBDC.

The precise meaning of “prohibit all private cryptocurrencies” has not been explained. The Register has encountered opinions suggesting so many Indian citizens have invested in cryptocurrency as an asset that an outright ban would spark a backlash. Bans on using cryptocurrency as a means of exchange have therefore been suggested, a proposal that chimes with the Indian government’s attempts to broaden its tax base.

The last part of the description suggests Indian law will allow use of blockchain – just not for cryptocurrency.

India is one of many nations that have started work on a CBDC: the UK, Japan, Canada, and Hong Kong have all begun work.

The USA has begun work, too, and on Tuesday took another step towards making crypto mainstream when the nation’s Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a joint statement [PDF] that revealed the agencies have already conducted a series of policy development “sprints”. The three organisations stated that in 2022 they “plan to provide greater clarity on whether certain activities related to crypto-assets conducted by banking organizations are legally permissible, and expectations for safety and soundness, consumer protection, and compliance with existing laws and regulations.”

China, meanwhile, has already issued its Digital Yuan and claims 140 million wallets have been used at least once. The Middle Kingdom has also banned cryptocurrency mining and never authorised its use. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • India reveals home-grown server that won't worry the leading edge

    And a National Blockchain Strategy that calls for gov to host BaaS

    India's government has revealed a home-grown server design that is unlikely to threaten the pacesetters of high tech, but (it hopes) will attract domestic buyers and manufacturers and help to kickstart the nation's hardware industry.

    The "Rudra" design is a two-socket server that can run Intel's Cascade Lake Xeons. The machines are offered in 1U or 2U form factors, each at half-width. A pair of GPUs can be equipped, as can DDR4 RAM.

    Cascade Lake emerged in 2019 and has since been superseded by the Ice Lake architecture launched in April 2021. Indian authorities know Rudra is off the pace, and said a new design capable of supporting four GPUs is already in the works with a reveal planned for June 2022.

    Continue reading
  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021