NEW DELHI, Jan 2: Government does not consider cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin and ethereum, legal tender and there is no protection against it, Union Minister for Finance Arun Jaitley informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
In response to Kanimozhi (Dravidra Munnetra Kaghazam) during Question Hour, Mr Jaitley said Government had set up a committee under the chairmanship of Economic Affairs Secretary which was deliberating all issues relating to cryptocurrency. Government, he said, will consider what action to take after the recommendations of the panel are made available.
It will also take on board international experience in the matter as it was a global phenomenon. Mr Jaitley said one of the features of cryptocurrency is that it there is lack of dependence on the State and it is operated by virtual community through hacking, blogs and whatsapp. As many as 785 virtual currencies are in operation and 11 such exchanges had been identified.
Ms. Kanimozhi said India accounts for nearly 11 per cent of the global trade in cryptocurrency. Some members expressed concern about this form of currency being used by criminals and terrorists and said it needed to be curbed.
Bitcoin was a new situation in the world and instead of a knee-jerk action, Government will await the report of the committee and take into account the global experience, Mr Jaitley said.
There is no authorised platform that supports hacking and the risk attached to it. People have been warned against risk of dealing in cryptocurrency as the government does not consider it a legal tender and there is no protection, he added. (UNI)