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Status of Bitcoin in India

The government has recently cautioned investors to be wary of virtual currencies like bitcoin, saying they are like Ponzi schemes with no legal tender and protection.

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India has not legitimized bitcoin, hence investment returns are totally based on demand i.e. you get your return only if there is another buyer in the market who is ready to pay you more for it. Currently the high-value of the digital currency owes to its high demand, but once people start selling, there is a possibility that rates will drastically fall. Pixabay
India has not legitimized bitcoin, hence investment returns are totally based on demand i.e. you get your return only if there is another buyer in the market who is ready to pay you more for it. Currently the high-value of the digital currency owes to its high demand, but once people start selling, there is a possibility that rates will drastically fall. Pixabay
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Bitcoin is the most famous cryptocurrency, rising 19-folds in value, it has attracted many retail investors from around the world. However, cryptocurrencies are yet not a legal tender in India and Bitcoin is disapproved as a legal currency.

Government’s take

Finance minister Arun Jaitley highlighted in a statement that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and have no regulatory permission or protection in the country. However, there was no announcement banning or imposing any curbs on the same.

The government panel is also awaiting a report on tackling cryptocurrencies in India, Jaitley said.

The government has recently cautioned investors to be wary of virtual currencies like bitcoin, saying they are like Ponzi schemes with no legal tender and protection.

There is no bank or government tax agency that can track your money and its movement. Hence, it can become a tool for money laundering. Pixabay
There is no bank or government tax agency that can track your money and its movement. Hence, it can become a tool for money laundering. Pixabay

No mechanism to prevent misuse

There is no mechanism to prevent the misuse of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin by terror groups and other anti-national elements.
“One of the features of cryptocurrency is that there is lack of dependence on the state. It functions with a degree of anonymity. It operates within a virtual community which is created and enjoys the trust of that virtual community,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha.
“The government is examining the matter. A Committee under the chairmanship of the Economic Affairs Department Secretary is deliberating over all issues related to cryptocurrencies to propose specific actions to be taken… Instead of taking any knee-jerk action, let’s wait for the report of this committee.” Jaitley added
There is no insurance protection of your bitcoin wallet i.e. if you lose your wallet’s hard drive data or even your password, your wallet’s content is gone forever. Pixabay
There is no insurance protection of your bitcoin wallet i.e. if you lose your wallet’s hard drive data or even your password, your wallet’s content is gone forever. Pixabay

Some basics on Bitcoin

  • Bitcoin is the first ever cryptocurrency that existed, it was invented in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto.
  • Cryptocurrencies are nothing but computer codes that have monetary value. No Government has any control over them.
  • Bitcoins ‘self-contain’ their value i.e. there’s no need for any bank to move or store the money.
  • Bitcoin currency is completely unregulated and decentralized.
  • Bitcoins are mined, and they can be mined by anyone in the general public who has a strong computer. However, only 21 billion of bitcoins in total can be mined. Currently, there are around 11 million in circulation.
  • Bitcoin has no underlying physical monetary base to support its value, and it is totally subject to its demand in the market.
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How can you trade in Bitcoin in India?

This will be the country's first app-based wallet that enables bitcoin transactions using a mobile number

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Pluto Exchange has launched first app that will trade in bitcoins in India
Pluto Exchange has launched first app that will trade in bitcoins in India Picture credits: Wikimedia commons

Dubai based “Pluto Exchange” has launched a Bitcoin trading app specifically targeted at the Indian market. The app was announced by Pluto Exchange founder and CEO Bharat Verma.

All about the app

  • This will be the country’s first app-based wallet that enables bitcoin transactions using a mobile number.
  • The app offers a solution to the coordination problem between payment processors, financial gateways and banks.
  • All other apps already in the market do transactions using bitcoin addresses, which are long and prone to error while copying. This app will enable transactions using mobile numbers only, which are just 10 digits.
  • By using a four-digit personal identification number (PIN), users can now buy, sell, store and spend bitcoins via a mobile number.
  • The app would permit a range of transactions, including payments, remittances, business-to-business commerce, supply chain finance, asset management and trading.

RBI on Bitcoin

Bharat Verma, CEO, Pluto Exchange said that the Reserve Bank of India is concerned about the use of cash for dealing in virtual currencies, whose values have turned volatile recently.

“The RBI considers bitcoins as decentralized trading that is completely unregulated… so their status is not clear,” he said.

Current scenario of cryptocurrency in India

In India, there are at least 15 bitcoin exchange forums, with the majority being set up over the past two years. Bitcoins have been trading at more than Rs 10 lakh each, while people are investing amounts ranging from Rs 3,000 to several lakhs of rupees to buy these.

According to investigation agencies here, with the demand and price of cryptocurrencies on the rise, cyber criminals have found innovative ways to dupe those looking to invest. (IANS)

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