Money laundering, terror financing biggest concerns around cryptocurrency, says Sitharaman

Casting further doubts on the already-uncertain cryptocurrency market in India, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday, April 18, said the biggest risk around cryptocurrency is its possibility to be used for money laundering and terror financing.

Sitharaman said: “The biggest risk for all countries across the board will be the aspect of money laundering and that of such currency being used for financing terror.”

ALSO READ | Bitcoin price falls below $40,000

Nirmala Sitharaman was speaking at a seminar of the International Monetary Fund.

“I think regulation using technology is the only answer. Regulation using technology will have to be so adept, that it has to be not behind the curve, but be sure that it is on the top of it. And that’s not possible if any one country thinks that it can handle it. It has to be across the board,” she said.

Sitharaman highlighted India’s performance in the digital world and the government’s efforts to build the digital infrastructure framework over the last decade, stressing the increase of the digital adoption rate in India during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If I use 2019 data, the digital adoption rate in India is about 85%. But globally, it was only somewhere near 64% the same year. So the pandemic time actually helped us to test and prove for ourselves that it is simple to use, common people can use it, and adoption actually was proven,” Sitharaman asserted.

ALSO READ | Crypto tax in India: Cryptocurrency investors must know these big changes

Nirmala Sitharaman had said at the India Today conclave held in March that India is not shutting off all options when it comes to cryptocurrency or blockchain and fintech. Sitharaman had said that a Cabinet note is being prepared on the matter which will provide all details on the formulation of cryptocurrency regulations in India.

“Of course, the Supreme Court has commented on cryptocurrency and while the RBI may take a call on the official cryptocurrency, from our end, we are very clear that we are not shutting off all options,” she had said.

She had also said that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is working on launching India’s own digital currency as was declared at the Budget 2022. She also said that taxation on crypto assets will be implemented first.

ALSO READ | Don’t miss the cryptocurrency boat, experts say on India’s proposed regulations