Indian authorities have been struggling to grasp the crypto phenomenon for quite some time now – years, to be more precise. The inability to fully understand it and put it under control has resulted in a state of semi-denial: “it’s illegal”, officials repeat tirelessly, but also keep trying to tax it. It doesn’t help when someone previously charged with proposing regulations, now says – India just can’t regulate bitcoin.
The institutional antipathy towards cryptocurrencies is no secret in India. Multiple warnings have been issued against their use, many officials have declared that they are illegal. The fact of the matter is cryptos, like bitcoin, are neither banned, nor regulated in the country.
In February, media reports suggested that the roles of various regulators had been determined, but a comprehensive regulatory framework has not been introduced yet. Two committees, set up by the Finance Ministry, have attempted to understand cryptocurrencies and recommend regulations. The first has advised against allowing their use in the country, while the current one is still mulling over different options on the table.
Shaktikanta Das, who headed the panel formed in April last year, now thinks regulating cryptocurrencies would be a tough task. Regardless of the regulations, Indians will be making transactions from their houses, he said, quoted by Quartz. “You cannot enter every home to check what transactions are going on”, Das added. Recognizing the “serious challenge”, the former high-ranking Finance Ministry official addressed Indian authorities with a new suggestion:
Das is an influential financial figure in India and his opinion is important when it comes to decision-making in Delhi. He has held several key positions at the Finance Ministry, serving as head of both the Department of Revenue and the Department of Economic Affairs. Currently, Shaktikanta Das is a member of the finance commission tasked with reviewing the government’s financial situation. In November he was appointed as India’s Sherpa to the G20 until the end of 2018.