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Govt can’t prevent misuse of Bitcoin by terrorists: Jaitley

The finance minister says there are no legal safeguards for people dealing in crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin as it was not a “lawful legal tender”.

business Updated: Jan 02, 2018 16:16 IST
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service, New Delhi
Bitcoin,terrorists,Jaitley
A collection of Bitcoin (virtual currency) tokens are displayed in this picture illustration taken December 8, 2017.(Reuters )

There is no mechanism to prevent the misuse of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin by terror groups and other anti-national elements, the government said on Tuesday, adding it was awaiting the report of an expert group on the subject.

“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.”

He said there were 785 different types of cryptocurrencies operating worldwide.

Jaitley also clarified that there were no legal safeguards for people dealing in crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin as it was not a “lawful legal tender”.

“Since December 2013, the RBI and the government have consistently maintained that this (Bitcoin) is not a lawful legal tender in India. Therefore, no legal protection for the person dealing in it is available,” Jaitley said.

First Published: Jan 02, 2018 16:15 IST