The cryptocurrency situation in India has taken some interesting twists and turns of late. One of the more recent developments revolves around Bitcoin-related drug cases which have been identified by the country’s officials. As a result, some politicians want to ban Bitcoin use altogether, even though it’s doubtful they will succeed.
Bitcoin is More Than a Currency for Criminals
India’s Special Investigation Team on Black Money has been keeping a close eye on cryptocurrency activity as of late. This has mainly been done to ensure that no criminal activity can take place when using Bitcoin or altcoins, even though this will always be an uphill battle. During the most recent meeting of the black money SIT, it became evident that four different drug cases involved Bitcoin.
This means Bitcoin’s reputation is not improving in India. The black money SIT wants to curb the use of cryptocurrencies altogether, although it is highly doubtful that the Indian government will take this approach. With crypto regulation still a topic of debate in the country, it is evident there are a lot of options worth exploring.
What makes the black money SIT’s request so interesting is that it stems from the aforementioned drug cases. Although four drug-related incidents involving Bitcoin is problematic, it is not exactly unprecedented. Drug smuggling is a very big problem in virtually every country, yet most of these transactions have nothing to do with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
One also has to keep in mind that all four cases were unearthed during the past two years. It is not commonplace to see Bitcoin being linked to drug smuggling or other criminal transactions in India, but for some reason, the black money SIT wants to see the use of this currency curbed once and for all. It’s a rather strong reaction on the part of officials, albeit one that may be warranted.
This is not the first time we’ve seen a request to ban cryptocurrencies in India. Earlier this year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also asked for the “elimination of cryptocurrency usage”. At that time, very few people paid attention to the request, even though Bitcoin still doesn’t have legal tender status in India. With the government actively pondering regulation, that situation may come to change in the next few months.
For the time being, it seems the request by the black money SIT will not be honored. The government has made it clear it wants to introduce a proper framework for cryptocurrency activity, and rash decisions will play no part in this process. At the same time, officials have to take all of the facts into account before rendering their verdict. Bitcoin plays a fractional role in India’s drug scene, as it seems cash and other financial tools are still the go-to solutions.