The Indian government will setup a high level inter-disciplinary committee to take a close look at the circulation of crypto currencies in the country.
“The circulation of Virtual Currencies which are also known as Digital/Crypto Currencies has been a cause of concern,” said a finance ministry press release on Wednesday. The ministry said that the committee will take stock of the present status of Virtual Currencies both in India and globally, examine regulatory structures and tackle issues like consumer protection and money laundering.
The committee, comprising of top officials from the department of economic affairs, financial services, revenue, home affairs, Reserve Bank of India, NITI Agog and the State Bank of India, will submit its report in three months.
India’s central bank had earlier cautioned that virtual currencies, including bitcoins could be risky. However, the Reserve Bank of India has also been studying blockchain technology and bitcoins closely. Blockchain is a database that acts as a digital ledger for transactions.
There are four major bitcoin exchanges in India: UnoCoin, CoinSecure, ZebPay and BTCXIndia. These are mostly startups and operate within the banking system by asking buyers to submit ‘know your customer’ documents before they can trade on the platform. According to one estimate, India has only 50,000 bitcoin enthusiasts and users.