Govt not against blockchain, consultation on for crypto: Ravi Shankar Prasad – Business Today

Former Union Minister of Law, Communication and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad, while speaking at Business Today’s Crypto Conclave today, sounded a note of caution by saying that crypto is a disruptive technology and maximum care should be taken when walking on this ground. He also emphasised on the fundamental difference between crypto and the blockchain technology on which the former is based. 
“We have never been against blockchain, in fact we encouraged blockchain technology, I think it will be and should be encouraged. I must say that blockchain is a technology and the cryptocurrency is just a part of it,” Prasad said at the conclave. 
Prasad also added that the government has adopted a cautious approach and is closely monitoring the crypto space in India. “There is no big country which has made it a legal tender, India, as far as cryptocurrency is concerned, is treading with caution, and the final decision on crypto should be taken depending on if it is good or bad for the country” he added. 
When asked on when the much-awaited crypto bill will see the light of day, Prasad argued that the government is still in the process of consulting and speaking to various stakeholders as far as crypto is concerned, and a decision will be made when the process reaches its logical conclusion. 
“Let this stakeholder consultation happen and I think this momentum is going to pick up very soon,” he said. 
The ex-minister also added that the crypto is at the same stage right now as the Internet was during the 1990s. On being asked about his stand on taxing income from digital assets, Prasad said that there is nothing wrong with the decision. 
“While announcing the Budget, FM Sitharaman said we are going to encourage digital currency and the RBI also announced the whole ecosystem for it. She also said till the time we will review the cryptocurrency, we will tax the income from cryptocurrency, I don’t find anything wrong in it,” he said. 
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting the Union Budget 2022-2023, announced a 30 per cent tax on income generated from the transfer of any digital asset. She went on to clarify that the Government of India is yet to recognise cryptocurrency. She also clarified and said: “Will come out with crypto regulations and laws only after the consultation process is completed; cannot give any timeline for the completion of the consultation on cryptos.” 
Paving the way forward, Prasad highlighted the fact that there has to be a proper convergence of the best of the minds of the world on what should be a good regulation for crypto in India. 
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