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Govt.examining various aspects of virtual currencies

ANI  |  New Delhi [India] 

The committee appointed by the last year to examine issues related to has submitted its report and examining pros and cons, including launching of its own currency, said a top said at an event held in earlier this week.

Addressing the second Global Summit on Asset System, organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM), Anadee Nath Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of and Justice, said the is also looking into the allegations that people who had had diverted the same to cryptocurrencies in during the period of in 2016.

It was reported that during the period of demonetisation, lakhs of people had used illegal money in bitcoins and that was one of the main factors responsible for the sudden increase in the price of bitcoins. The is also examining the use of black money, said Mr. Mishra.

There has been a phenomenal increase in recent times in the price of virtual currencies (VCs) including bitcoin, in and globally. The VCs don't have intrinsic value and are not backed by any kind of assets. The price of bitcoin and other VCs, therefore, is a matter of mere speculation resulting in spurt and volatility in their prices. There is real risk of investment bubble of the type in ponzi schemes which can result in sudden and prolonged crash exposing investors, especially losing their hard earned money. Consumers need to be alert and extremely cautious as to avoid getting trapped in such ponzi schemes, said Mr. Mishra.

VCs are stored in digital/ electronic format, making them vulnerable to hacking, loss of password, malware attack etc. which may also result in permanent loss of money. As transactions of VCs are encrypted they are also likely being used to carry out illegal activities such as terror-funding, smuggling, drug trafficking and other money-laundering acts, added the

He said, there was report that people who couldn't convert their money use this channel to launder their illegal money and it could have been one of the reasons for sudden rise in the value of bitcoins. The Income Tax (IT) department has also carried out enquiries and notices have been given to numbers of people who have transacted in bitcoins and have been asked to make payment of taxes if they had made any profit out of it.

The policy of of is extreme cautious right now but we are actually calling it illegal but there is always difference between legality and tax availability, said Mr Mishra.

He also said that wants technology but should help is welcome. Lets people do in a legal way.

As the at the event, Mr. Subharansh Rai, of EthxPay, a based Bitcoin exchange, said, "should start recognising this sooner than later to dispel confusion related to policy regarding status of crypto-currency in "

"Neither the nor the Reserve (RBI) have officially clamped down the of crypto-currency, but recently individual Bitcoin traders and exchanges appear to be bearing the brunt of a campaign that has already begun to impact usage across the country as banks are choking bitcoin by blocking deposits and withdrawals. This should not happen till norms are in place," added Mr Rai.

Mr Augusto Montiel, of said, can bring positive change in quality, efficiency and productivity. enables a strong authentication process. He said, is currently working on an oil-backed currency called Petro.

He said that the Venezuelan has investment worth 9.5 billion dollars of barrels of to back the new currency.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, January 13 2018. 14:21 IST