The Indian government is looking to introduce a cryptocurrency bill in the winter session of parliament in a bid to “fast track” regulation of a rapidly growing ecosystem, CNBC-TV18 reported.

Fast facts

  • India first drafted a bill to ban all cryptocurrencies in the budget session of 2021, but it was never tabled for discussions. Officials are now trying to modify the bill and take a middle ground — that is, avoid extremely negative or positive measures like banning crypto or adopting them as legal tender like El Salvador. According to reports in early September, the government is looking to classify crypto as commodities in the asset class. In August, the finance minister had said the crypto bill is awaiting a nod from the union cabinet.
  • On Monday, the Economic Times of India reported that presentations on the pros and cons of crypto, regulatory approaches of different nations, Indian retail investments in the space as well as the central bank’s stance was made before the policymakers by different parties, including by the finance ministry. The Reserve Bank of India has always held its ground and called for a ban on crypto, even after its de facto ban was scrapped by the apex court in 2020.
  • Another presentation about how crypto can be taxed is also to be made before policymakers soon. India had set up a panel to study how crypto income can be taxed in September this year.
  • An earlier report citing anonymous finance ministry officials had said that the government might introduce the bill in the budget session in February next year. However, present reports contradict that, since sources are now saying it might be introduced in the winter session scheduled from Nov. 29 to Dec. 23.
  • Although rumors of a ban have circulated around the Indian crypto industry for years, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has reiterated over time that crypto will not be completely shut out.