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Indian Finance Minister: Government to embrace blockchain; Bitcoin is not legal tender
Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has announced the government’s intention of tapping into blockchain technology in its digitization efforts.
Jaitley presented the Union Budget 2018-19 on February 01 in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the parliament. He announced the government’s blockchain and cryptocurrency plans in his annual budget speech.
“Distributed ledger system or the block chain technology allows organization of any chain of records or transactions without the need of intermediaries,” Jaitley said. “The Government will explore use of block chain technology proactively for ushering in digital economy.”
Regarding cryptocurrencies, the minister said that the government will take the necessary steps to eliminate their use in the payment system.
“The Government does not consider crypto-currencies legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate use of these cryptoassets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system,” he said.
This could mean that the government might roll out a policy which would ban the use of cryptocurrencies as legal tender.
Speaking on the floor of Rajya Sabha last month, Jaitley underscored the lack of a mechanism to prevent the misuse of cryptocurrencies by terrorist groups and other anti-national elements. He had said that the government is currently awaiting the report from an expert panel which was set up last year to look into cryptocurrency regulation.