The Supreme Court of India has sought clarification from the government on the legality of cryptocurrencies in the country in the wake of surging Bitcoin scams, local media reported.

See related article: Indian crypto scam investigated

Fast facts

  • A bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant asked additional solicitor general (ASG) Aishwarya Bhati to clarify the government’s stand on the use of cryptocurrencies in India.
  • The Indian Supreme Court was hearing a matter relating to the GainBitcoin scam, which was an alleged fraud of 87,000 Bitcoins, valued at INR 20,000 crore (US$2.64 billion).
  • Pradeep Gooptu, financial markets expert, told Forkast that a response from the government would provide clarity on classification, rules and regulations, tax payable on such transactions, as well as enhancing flexibility and sustainability of the industry.
  • According to Chainalysis, crypto crimes hit a new high, with illicit addresses receiving US$14 billion in 2021 — a 79% increase from the previous year.
  • An Indian national was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on Friday as the founder of BitConnect in a US$2.4 billion cryptocurrency scheme.
  • Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a new 30% tax on crypto but has stressed that cryptocurrencies have not been legalized, while the central bank has continued to call for an outright ban

See related article: India needs to make up its mind over crypto