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Nations need synchronised action to tackle crypto challenge: PM Modi at WEF’s Davos Conference

In the past, the Prime Minister has similarly appealed for global efforts on preventing the misuse of cryptocurrencies.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for all nations to cooperate on the issue of crypto assets as every global agency will need synchronised action to tackle them. He was speaking at the 2022 World Economic Forum’s annual Davos conference that was held virtually this year.

Referring to cryptocurrency as a challenge on par with supply-chain disruptions, inflation, and climate change, PM Modi said that the kind of technology associated with cryptocurrency renders decisions taken by a single nation as inadequate.

“We will need to maintain a shared thinking to deal with the challenges posed by cryptocurrency,” he declared.

The Prime Minister’s remarks are indicative of the focus of the Indian government while it continues to prepare the draft of the widely-anticipated cryptocurrency bill.

‘Cryptocurrencies should not end up in wrong hands’

PM Modi had earlier called for the international order to work towards ensuring that cryptocurrencies do not end up in the wrong hands, at The Sydney Dialogue last year, The Hindu reported.

“It is important that all democratic nations work on this and ensure that it does not end up in the wrong hands, which can spoil our youth,” PM Modi said in his virtual address.

The Sydney Dialogue is an annual summit of cyber and critical technologies to discuss the impact of the digital domain on the law and order situation in the world, the report added.

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PM Modi’s run-in with hackers

PM Modi is no stranger to wrong hands as his personal Twitter handle (@narendramodi) was “briefly compromised” on December 12 last year, as revealed in a tweet from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The compromised account sent out a tweet falsely declaring that Bitcoin (BTC) had been adopted as legal tender in the country and that the government had bought 500 BTC to be distributed among residents of the country, according to a screenshot circulating on social media.

The tweet was swiftly taken down following which Twitter was alerted about the infraction and the account was secured. An appeal was made by the PMO, urging followers to ignore all tweets shared in that period.

Is India any closer to coming out with its own crypto law?

The official cryptocurrency bill was first expected in the winter session held in the last month of 2021 as the Union government listed the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, for introduction before the start of the winter session. On the Lok Sabha agenda, the purpose of the bill was unchanged from when it was earlier listed in February 2021:

To create a facilitative framework for creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India. The Bill also seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India, however, it allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses. (emphasis ours)

The unchanged description caused many crypto investors in India to panic and sell off their crypto holdings, owing to which prices of all major cryptocurrencies plummeted steeply. However, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman later clarified that the government is bringing a new cryptocurrency bill which will be presented before the Cabinet soon.

The Union government will not be able to get the cryptocurrency bill ready in time for the upcoming budget session either as it continues to hold more discussions around crypto assets. The pilot launch of the Reserve Bank of India’s digital currency project is one of the reasons behind the delay. It is unclear as to when the country will have its own law on crypto assets.

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Written By

I cover several beats such as Crypto, Telecom, and OTT at MediaNama. I can be found loitering at my local theatre when I am off work consuming movies by the dozen.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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