Home / Money / Calculators /  What are our neighbours doing with bitcoin?

The government is yet to regulate cryptocurrencies in India. The Ministry of Finance is waiting for the report of a committee, that was formed to study virtual currencies, to give its final verdict. Meanwhile, here is what other countries are doing about cryptocurrencies:

Singapore: Last month, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), like the Reserve Bank of India, sent out cautionary notes against cryptocurrencies to its citizens. In the release, MAS said that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and are neither issued by the government nor backed by any asset. It further said that if the public loses money from investing in cryptocurrencies, they “will not be able to rely on any protection afforded under legislation administered by MAS…. Investors should carefully assess whether an investment in cryptocurrencies is suitable for their investment objectives and risk appetite."

Malaysia: With a focus on money laundering and terrorism financing, Bank Negara Malaysia—Malaysia’s central bank—had issued draft guidelines in December 2017 on the reporting obligations of digital currency exchange businesses. The notification said, “A digital currency exchanger must declare its details to the Bank as a reporting institution. Failure to declare its details as reporting institutions or comply with the reporting obligations may subject the digital currency exchangers to the enforcement and non-compliance actions as provided under the AMLA as well as the potential termination or denial of use of financial services in Malaysia." The Malaysian central bank also said that digital currencies are not legal tender in Malaysia and that they are not regulated. Along with this, the Malaysian apex bank has cautioned the public to carefully evaluate the risks associated with dealings in digital currencies. The apex bank took feedback till 14 January 2018 and will come out with final guidelines later.

Indonesia: On 13 January 2018, Bank Indonesia, the central bank of Indonesia, said that virtual currencies—including bitcoin—are not recognized as valid payment instruments, so they are prohibited to be used as a means of payment in Indonesia. “Bank Indonesia warns all parties not to sell, buy or trade virtual currency. Bank Indonesia stipulates that as a payment system authority, Bank Indonesia prohibits all payment system service providers (principals, switching organizers, clearing organizers, final settlement providers, issuers, acquirers, payment gateways, electronic wallet operators, fund transfer providers) and Financial Technology providers in Indonesia both Banks and Institutions Bank to process payment transactions with virtual currency," the Indonesian central bank said in a release.

China: Last year, China banned cryptocurrency exchanges. However, there have been alternative cryptocurrency trading taking place in the country. According to a Bloomberg report, the Chinese government plans to block domestic access to home-grown and offshore platforms that enable centralized trading. “Authorities will also target individuals and companies that provide market-making, settlement and clearing services for centralized trading," Bloomberg reported.

Globally, and in India, central banks and the governments are currently evaluating the legalities and regulations around cryptocurrencies. Ever since their prices have skyrocketed, the authorities have been sending out cautionary notes to the general public, advising against the use of cryptocurrencies. They have also clarified that if anyone invests in cryptocurrencies, it would be at their own risk. Authorities are also keeping a watch on money laundering and terrorism financing, if any, using cryptocurrencies. The regulatory stance on virtual currencies in different countries is important as these will impact India too. Right now, uncertainty continues in cryptocurrencies and if you are planning to invest in bitcoins, do so with caution.

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