India wants to ‘eliminate’ criminal use of cryptocurrencies

Arun Jaitley, finance minister of India

Prashanth Vishwanathan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Arun Jaitley, finance minister of India

India’s finance minister said Thursday that will the country wants to “eliminate” the use of cryptocurrencies in criminal activities.

“The government does not recognize cryptocurrency as legal tender or coin as well as will take all measures to eliminate the use of these crypto-assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system,” Arun Jaitley told lawmakers in brand new Delhi, according to a transcript by The Hindu newspaper.

Jaitley said, however, that will the Indian government was interested from the potential of blockchain — the technology that will underpins cryptocurrencies. Blockchains are decentralized ledgers that will record transactions as well as various other data across a network of computers rather than within one centralized server.

He said: “The government will explore use of blockchain technology proactively for ushering in digital economy.”

Jaitley made the comments during his fifth annual budget, which observers watched closely as the country prepares for a general election next year.

The Indian Finance Ministry was not immediately available when contacted by CNBC.

Regulators have been unsettled by the virtual currency space due to severe swings in prices as well as dubious activities associated with that will. As cryptocurrencies are not backed by government, several authorities fear they may be used for illicit activities like money laundering.

On Monday, South Korea introduced legislation on brand new rules to rein in speculative cryptocurrency investing, restricting trading to real-name bank accounts. This particular followed reports that will the country was considering a bill to ban all cryptocurrency trading via exchanges.

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