Indian Supreme Court Asks Government to Regulate Bitcoin

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The Supreme Court of India has called on the government to answer the petition calling for the regulation of the use of the leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin in the country.

The petition claimed that the digital currency can be utilized in executing untraceable transactions across borders, making it an attractive tool for tax evaders and ransomware attackers.

According to a report by the Indian newspaper, The Hindu, in mid-November 2017, three justices of the Supreme Court have sent a notice to India’s central bank, market regulator, tax department and other responsible agencies, requesting them to answer a petition on the issue.

Part of the petition reads:

“The lack of any concrete [control] mechanism pending the regulatory framework in said regard has left a lot of vacuum and which has resulted in total unaccountability and unregulated Bitcoin (crypto money) trading and transactions.”

Other highlights of the petition

Based on the petition, the users of Bitcoin in India are continuously growing. It further claimed that Bitcoin exchanges in the country add 2,500 users per day and roughly 500,000 Indian citizens already have Bitcoin holdings. These developments could adversely affect the market value of other commodities in the country.

The petition also cited some of the actions taken by other countries regarding Bitcoin and other virtual currencies. Among these are the campaign against cryptocurrency exchanges in China and the move by the Russian government to block Bitcoin websites.

Because of these actions, the petition also urged the Supreme Court to intervene and ask the government to urgently decide how it will approach the issue.

Stance of the Indian government on Bitcoin

The government of India has virtually adopted a “wait-and-see” attitude on the digital currency issue.

In April 2017, it created a committee to study Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and how to best regulate them. However, it has failed to advance concrete steps to regulate the virtual currencies.