Any buying, selling or mining of cryptocurrencies will get offenders 10 years in prison, according to a recent proposal by Indian officials, entitled “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2019”. The legislation is designed to decimate the cryptocurrency industry in India by prohibiting the sale, purchase and issuance of cryptos such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP) and Litecoin (LTC).
If passed, the legislation will affect 18% of the world’s population.
According to a report by the Economic Times, the draft bill has been in the works for some time under the Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg. It targets people who “mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies directly or indirectly.”
The proposal is the latest attack by the Indian government in its battle against digital currencies. Pushing the initiative are members of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
The criminalization of cryptos would eliminate competition with the government’s own digital currency, the ‘Digital Rupee.’ According to the report, an official says,
“A decision on the launch of Digital Rupee would be taken after consulting the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).”
As cryptocurrencies gain widespread attention as tools of change against totalitarian regimes, crypto industry leaders are sniffing out a lot of fear on behalf of the Indian government. Any attempts to shut down crypto can highlight the power of Bitcoin and its clones as decentralized digital assets that are censorship-resistance and beyond the control of governments.
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao says the law would trigger the adoption of confidential crypto protocols.
“That bill in India will really push privacy coin adoption forward.”
Morgan Creek Digital co-founder Anthony Pompliano says he believes the law would actually increase the use of digital assets.
“I highly doubt this will get passed, but if it does, it will have the opposite effect and actually drive adoption. People don’t like being told what to do with their wealth.”