India’s government will introduce a bill to ban private cryptocurrencies and create a framework for a central bank-backed digital money, its parliament said in a shock announcement late Tuesday.
The proposed bill “seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India”, the Lok Sabha said, and comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned last week that Bitcoin presents a risk to younger generations and could “spoil our youth” if it ends up “in the wrong hands”.
It is the latest such move by a major emerging economy, after China declared all cryptocurrency transactions illegal in September.
India’s crypto market has boomed since the country’s Supreme Court overturned a previous ban in April last year, growing more than 600 per cent over the past year according to research by Chainalysis.
Between 15 and 100 million people in Asia’s third-largest economy are estimated to own cryptocurrencies, with total holdings in the billions of dollars.
India’s central bank announced in June that it is working to introduce its own digital currency by the end of the year, while warning it has “serious concerns” about private cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and others. AFP