India is unlikely to bring a crypto or Web3-specific legislative bill anytime soon and perhaps up to mid of 2025, said one of India's senior politicians, who oversees the financial evolution of the nation.
Jayant Sinha, Chair of the Standing Committee on Finance in India's Parliament and a Minister of Parliament from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was answering a question during a CoinDesk interview at India Blockchain Week in Bengaluru about when India could see a Web3-specific bill.
"Regulators and policymakers are responsible, not just on the innovation side, which of course we want to encourage, but also on the safety side," Sinha said. "We have to really find that balance and that balance is going to evolve over the next 12 to 18 months."
Considerations for a crypto bill
Three specific considerations don't make it suitable for any crypto-specific bill to be introduced in parliament any time soon – considerations around evolving use cases in the space, the evolution of global standards given 2024 is the year of elections in India, U.S. and potentially U.K., and the emerging reality of industry evolution after the collapse of FTX and regulatory action against Binance.
"I'm a bit of a broken record on this, which is whether it is Web3 or crypto, I want to first see the use cases that will really be powerful for India and that's point one," Sinha answered on a question from CoinDesk about when India could see a Web3-specific bill.
"Point number two is global standards are still evolving and 2024 is the year of elections around the world. Many important countries, whether it's the U.S., the U.K., India, are going in for elections. So, I'm not sure in 2024 the standards will develop. We also have to see what's going to emerge from the (crypto) meltdown about whether some of these companies are going to survive," Sinha opined.
India's position on crypto came under increased scrutiny after Sept. 2023, when it pushed the G20 during its presidency to accept global guidelines for crypto without having its own legislation in place. India has kept a crypto bill in cold storage since 2021 but did indicate it will decide its position in the coming months. However, that position is unlikely to come through in the form of a bill at least in 2024, Sinha's remarks suggest.
Instead, India is likely to bank on a string of policy decisions that act as a defacto regulatory framework for the space and also align with the Financial Stability Board's recommendations by end-2025, Indian officials have told CoinDesk previously. India has already brought in anti-money laundering rules and a tax structure for crypto and that may be enough, an official told CoinDesk in August.
"Cautious about crypto"
Sinha reiterated concerns sounded by India's central bank around crypto.
"In India where we have capital controls when you can't freely trade the rupee for us to enable crypto assets is not really feasible," Sinha said. "Unlike other economies like Singapore, or Korea or the US that have freely tradable currencies, and can get into crypto with a lot less trepidation. As far as India is concerned, we have to be very, very careful, very, very cautious when we talk about crypto. But crypto friends is just one use case for what is a revolutionary set of technologies that underlie Web3."
Sinha also encouraged the audience which was made up of Web3 entrepreneurs, developers and enthusiasts in the space to propose a white paper or regulatory framework for India to consider.
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