Tim Draper, American venture capitalist, billionaire and founding partner of Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), argues that a potential crypto ban could be catastrophic for India.
In a recent interview with Inc42, a leading Indian news platform, Tim Draper had the following to say;
“It is akin to the Luddites. They are in fact saying, ‘we will not tolerate progress.’ It will set them back 40 years. Imagine if they did this with the internet?”
The draft version of the Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019 was leaked earlier in July by Varun Sethi, a blockchain lawyer and startup consultant with an apparent eye for justice.
Defining Digital Assets
According to the 18-page draft bill, India defines a cryptocurrency as any information, code, number or token that is not part of any official digital currency (e.g. the upcoming digital Rupee), is generated through cryptographic means and intended to provide a digital representation of value.
Digital currencies meeting this rather vague description will apparently be completely banned in the country, with part II of the draft bill clearly stating the following;
“No person shall mine, generate, hold, buy or sell or deal in, issue, transfer, dispose of or use cryptocurrency in the territory of India.”
Under the proposed bill, cryptocurrency traders, miners, users, and even holders could be subject to hefty fines and a potential 10-year prison sentence. Moreover, the bill also neglects to mention how more than 1 million Indian cryptocurrency holders are supposed to dispose of their digital assets without incurring any punishment.
Anti-Cryptocurrency, Not Blockchain
The bill only appears to target decentralized cryptocurrencies, other implementations of distributed ledger technologies (DLT) including blockchain are not illegal. However, according to Draper, taking such a hostile approach to cryptocurrencies may be the last nail in the coffin:
“People will want to leave India to get to a country that is less backward. I suspect they will get out so they can live a better life.” Said Draper.
It remains to be seen whether the draft bill will be modified before going into effect, stay as it is, or be scrapped entirely. However, in its current iteration, the bill is one of the harshest rejections of the nascent decentralized cryptocurrency industry yet by a major world government— a move which could be considered draconian by some standards.
What is your opinion on the potential crypto ban in India? Do you think India’s digital Rupee will be a success? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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