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Government Invites Comments On Virtual Currencies. Details Here

The Department of Economic Affairs constituted an Inter-Disciplinary Committee on March 15, 2017 to examine the existing virtual currencies framework.
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Bitcoin hit an all-time high above $1,400 against dollar earlier this month
Bitcoin hit an all-time high above $1,400 against dollar earlier this month

Highlights

  1. Circulation of virtual currencies cause of concern, says government
  2. Last date to post comments online May 31, 2017, says finance ministry
  3. Bitcoin hit an all-time high above $1,400 against dollar earlier this mon
The government has said the circulation of virtual or digital/crypto currencies has been a cause of concern and invited comments from public on the virtual currencies framework. The Ministry of Finance said on microblogging site Twitter that the last date to give comments on the government's website - mygov.in - is May 31, 2017. Virtual or digital currency is an unregulated, digital form of money that can be bought with regulated currencies - such as dollars and euros - and stored in an online wallet. Virtual currencies can be spent online and in the physical world for goods and services. The popular virtual currency Bitcoin hit an all-time high above $1,400 against dollar earlier this month.
  The government has invited comments on whether virtual currencies should be banned, regulated or observed. In case virtual currencies are suggested to be regulated, what measures should be taken to ensure consumer protection, to promote orderly development of such currencies and which appropriate institution(s) should monitor/regulate them, a statement noted.

The Department of Economic Affairs constituted an Inter-Disciplinary Committee on March 15, 2017 to examine the existing framework, it said. The Committee, chaired by Special Secretary (Economic Affairs), will take stock of the present status of Virtual Currencies - within the country and globally, examine the existing global regulatory and legal structures governing Virtual Currencies, suggest measures for dealing with such Virtual Currencies and examine any other matter related to Virtual Currencies which may be relevant, it noted.

The Reserve Bank of India has been repeatedly flagging concerns on virtual currencies like Bitcoins, stating that they pose potential financial, legal, customer protection and security-related risks.

Despite the central bank's call for caution to people against the use of virtual currencies, app-based Bitcoin exchange Zebpay has said it is adding over 2,500 users a day and reached five lakh downloads on the Android operating system. This, it said, highlights the "growing acceptance of Bitcoins as one of the most popular emerging asset class".

The panel will include representatives from the Department of Economic Affairs, the Department of Financial Services, the Department of Revenue (CBDT), the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the Reserve Bank of India, NITI Aayog and State Bank of India.

Earlier this month, digital currency Bitcoin hit an all-time high above $1,400, after more than tripling in value over the past year. Bitcoin's most recent rise was attributed to strong demand in Japan, where the currency has been deemed a legal means of payment.

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