Her comments, made in an interview during an event organised by a television channel on Saturday, have come as a huge relief for the cryptocurrency industry, which has been worried about a possible ban on its activities through a proposed legislation.
“I have said my view on this, saying the Supreme Court had commented on this cryptocurrency. Whilst we are very clear that the Reserve Bank may take a call on an official cryptocurrency or anything of that kind, but from our side we are very clear that we are not shutting all options off,” Sitharaman told the TV channel, when asked about her views on the debate over the status of cryptocurrencies in the country.
“We will allow a certain amount of window for people to use so that experiments in the blockchain, bitcoin or whatever you may want to call it, the cryptocurrency experiments and fintech, which depends on such experiments, will have that window available for them, we are not going to shut it off all. But what kind of a formulation even for a crypto will be the content of the Cabinet note, which will get ready soon,” Sitharaman told the channel, putting at rest speculation about a complete ban on cryptocurrencies.
There has been an intense debate over the status of cryptocurrencies and experts have debated over whether a complete ban was the best option or some amount of regulation is required to ensure that benefits of blockchain are harnessed and available to the fintech sector.
The government was set to introduce a bill in the current Budget session — the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill — to ban private crypto currency, while putting in place a framework for a launch of a digital currency by the RBI.