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Indian government updates parliament on crypto legislation and exchange probes

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The Indian government has updated the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of parliament, on the status of its cryptocurrency bill and investigations into crypto exchanges.

Indian government responds to concerns regarding the crypto bill

On Dec. 20, the Indian government responded to various questions concerning cryptocurrency and its regulation from members of the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of parliament.

Bhartruhari Mahtab, a parliament member, asked the finance minister regarding the status of the crypto bill that was supposed to be introduced during the winter session of 2021. He also inquired about the timeframe for which the bill would be tabled and open for public comment, the department that would regulate cryptocurrency and crypto tokens, and the ministry or department that would work on various other virtual digital assets. The legal frame will oversee NFTs, dApps, real estate tokens, and other blockchain-based assets as well.

Pankaj Chaudhary, the finance minister of India, responded without specifying a timeline:

“Crypto assets are by definition borderless and require international collaboration to prevent regulatory arbitrage. Any legislation on the subject can be effective only with significant international collaboration on evaluation of the risks and benefits and evolution of common taxonomy and standards.”

Pankaj Chaudhary, the finance minister of India

He also stated that policy regarding crypto assets and the related ecosystem is in the hands of the Ministry of Finance.

Indian government requests details on crypto exchanges under probe

Several other members of parliament have posed a series of questions requesting information on crypto exchanges under investigation for money laundering and tax evasion.

According to Chaudhary, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is investigating a number of crypto-related fraud cases in which a small number of crypto exchanges have been implicated in money laundering. As of Dec. 14, the minister explained:

“Proceeds of crime amounting to Rs. 907.48 crores have been attached/seized, three persons have been arrested, and four Prosecution Complaints have been filed before the Special Court, PMLA, in these cases.”

Moreover, assets totaling Rs. 289.68 crores ($35 million) have been seized. A notice was issued to Zanmai Labs, the company that runs the cryptocurrency exchange Wazirx, and its director for transactions involving crypto assets totaling Rs. 2,790.74 crores ($337 million).

Chaudhary added that the Central GST formations had uncovered a few instances of Goods and Services Tax (GST) evasion by cryptocurrency exchanges.

Nirmala Sitharaman, the finance minister of India, stated in October that the government intends to discuss crypto regulation with G20 nations in order to establish “a technology-driven regulatory framework” for crypto. Ajay Seth, India’s economic affairs secretary, stated last week that the G20 nations intend to reach a policy consensus on crypto assets in order to improve global regulation. Janet Yellen, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, and Sitharaman discussed crypto regulation at the ninth India-U.S. Economic and Financial Partnership meeting last month.

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