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Government panel recommends complete ban on bitcoin and other virtual currencies

Ending the speculation on virtual currencies such as cryptocurrencies and bitcoins, a government panel has suggested that the government should consider framing a new law for regulating that space, said sources familiar with the matter.
“The panel has categorically said that all such currencies should be treated as ‘illegal," one of the sources told CNBC-TV18, requesting anonymity.
The panel has suggested that a new legal framework within the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines should be brought in to ban cryptocurrencies and the law should clearly specify that any kind of dealing in such currencies should be treated as illegal, said the sources.
In November, the government had appointed a panel to draft the norms for virtual currencies. The panel was headed by Subhash Chandra Garg, secretary, department of economic affairs (DEA) and has submitted its report to finance minister Arun Jaitley.
The panel has also said, “The law should enlist punitive measures that the government and its investigative agencies can take in case it finds anyone or any entity trading or dealing/ holding it.”
In November, the government had appointed a panel to draft the norms for virtual currencies. The panel was headed by Subhash Chandra Garg, secretary, department of economic affairs (DEA) and has submitted its report to finance minister Arun Jaitley.
On whether India would venture in having such a currency, the panel has suggested that “a new sovereign backed virtual or cryptocurrency may be proposed considering global circumstances; probably at a later stage.”
In February 2018, finance minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech had said that the government does not consider cryptocurrencies as legal tender, giving a clear message on the warnings issued by RBI and the finance ministry. He also said that the government will take measures to eliminate the use of such currencies in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system.
The income tax department also suggested the panel that the government should ban cryptocurrencies. This was followed by a word of caution coming in from the Supreme court-appointed special investigation team (SIT) on black money saying that the centre should not legalise cryptocurrencies.

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