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    Around 15-20 mln people in India hold crypto assets worth $4-5 billion: WazirX

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    Around 15-20 mln people in India hold crypto assets worth $4-5 billion: WazirX

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    India's cryptocurrency ecosystem is on tenterhooks after government proposes to prohibit private cryptocurrencies through a legislation in the upcoming winter session of parliament. Nischal Shetty, Founder & CEO of WazirX said if the government bans the cryptocurrency then 15 to 20 million people in India hold about $4 to 5 billion worth of crypto, what happens to all of this wealth. He said India will lose out on a lot of skill development if there is a ban on crypto.

    India's cryptocurrency ecosystem is on tenterhooks after government proposes to prohibit private cryptocurrencies through legislation in the upcoming winter session of parliament. The details of the bill are still awaited and sources say the cabinet did not take it up at its meeting today (Nov 24).
    The union government says the proposed law aims to create a facilitative framework for the creation of an official digital currency by the Reserve Bank of India. The government also said the law aims to "prohibit all private cryptocurrencies."
    Nischal Shetty, Founder & CEO of WazirX believes that if the government bans cryptocurrencies then it will have to consider some important factors.
    "The first important thing is there are about 15 to 20 million people in India, holding about $4 to 5 billion worth of crypto. So the first question is what happens to all of this wealth and how do they handle it?" he said.
    He also warned of a massive brain drain risk.
    "With work from home, I think developers and startups will have to move out of the country and find somewhere else to go and work out,” he warned.
    “India will lose out on massive skill development because blockchain and crypto technology skill set is one of the fastest-growing job sectors today. So we lose out on all of that." he added.
    The crypto market is thought to be worth around $3 trillion.
    "If India will not be able to participate, (it will) lose out on that market as well and that is probably the conclusion if we go really towards a ban of this new technology,” said Shetty. 
    What the draft bill of 2019 proposed
    The bill sought to "prohibit mining, holding, selling, trade, issuance, disposal or use of cryptocurrency in the country. Under the bill, mining, holding, selling, issuing, transferring or use of cryptocurrency is punishable with a fine or imprisonment of up to 10 years or both.
    It went on to add that a person must declare and dispose of any cryptocurrency in his possession within 90 days from the commencement of the act.
    It would be interesting to see how the government balances the view of the Supreme Court which had struck down the 2018 RBI circular which had banned all regulated banks from holding or facilitating cryptocurrency transactions. A 3 judge bench of the SC said the rbi circular was disproportionate and unreasonable.
    For the full interview, watch the accompanying video...
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