Yet to take calls on cryptocurrency ads, monitoring NFT too: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

TNN Bureau. Updated: 11/30/2021 3:24:58 PM Politics

Terming cryptocurrency as a “risky area,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today in Rajya Sabha said that they are yet to take a call on advertisements around cryptocurrency. The statement comes a day after she was quoted as saying in the Lok Sabha that there was no proposal to recognise Bitcoin as a currency in the country.

“This is a risky area and not in a complete regulatory framework. No decision was taken on banning its advertisements. Steps are taken to create awareness through RBI and SEBI. The government will soon introduce a Bill,” Sitharaman said during the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha.

The Finance Minister also said that regulation of Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) is being discussed by the Centre. NFTs can be any digital asset, be it a jpeg file or GIF or even a digital music file. The hype in cryptocurrency has also resulted in a boom for the NFT market globally.

She also added that the risk that cryptocurrencies could lead to undesirable activities is also being closely monitored. When asked by MP Sushil Kumar about the steps taken to curb advertisements, Sitharaman added that “investors have been cautioned.”

On taxes collected on crypto trades, Sitharaman asserted, “Don’t have ready information about the amount of tax collected on cryptocurrencies.”

“Keeping the propriety of the House, any answer now will preempt the discussion which will come with Bill. That discussion would be held,” she added.

This development comes as the government plans to introduce the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2021 in the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament. The Bill seeks to ban all but a few private cryptocurrencies to promote underlying technologies while allowing an official digital currency by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The Finance Minister in her earlier reply to the Lok Sabha had also said that the government does not collect data on Bitcoin transactions.

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