Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said crypto assets regulation should be an international priority and will be a hot topic at a summit next month, opening India’s yearlong presidency of the Group of 20 nations. The country will host the annual G-20 summit next year and thus help shape the agenda.
Speaking at an annual event on November 1 hosted by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, Sitharaman said India needs to encourage international groups such as the International Monetary Fund, Financial Stability Board, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation to help form crypto regulations with “all countries being on board.”
“No one single country can succeed in individually, being in a silo, trying to regulate the crypto assets,” she stated.
Sitharaman remarked India hasn’t set crypto-specific legislation yet because “we need to have all the members of the G-20 first of all to come on board to see how best it can be done.”
Meantime, India’s chief economic adviser, V. Anantha Nageswaran, speaking at the same conference, said that identifying “consensus-based solutions for accelerating the scale and scope of the response of the global community to many transboundary challenges such as regulation of virtual assets” will be a priority of India’s G-20 presidency.
On the other hand, Sitharaman made clear she was talking about cryptocurrency as an asset and not as a currency, which is the domain of the Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank.
Regulating crypto as an asset is “in the national interest because you don’t know what the trail leads you to. Is it drug funding? Is it terror funding? Or is it just gaming the system and so on?” she said.
In her words, showcasing India’s digital revolution will be another priority during the G-20 presidency and that involves the nation’s central bank digital currency (CBDC), which the RBI started to test on November 1.
This year, Indian authorities tightened their scrutiny over major crypto service providers in the country. According to local media outlets, the director-general of GST Intelligence (DGGI) searched around half a dozen offices of crypto exchanges following the 700 million rupees tax evasion from cryptocurrency trade.
These are crucial developments as the country is still waiting for a legislative framework that can provide clear guidance to the players in the sectors. In a market with an estimated 15 million crypto holders, the watchdogs have grown stringent lately. It is estimated that Indians now hold close to $6.6 billion in crypto assets.