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Home / Politics / Policy /  Parliamentary panel explores cryptofinancing opportunities

The Parliament standing committee on finance met cryptocurrency stakeholders on Monday to explore the opportunities and challenges involving crypto financing, two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting on its regulation.

The committee’s chairman and Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament, Jayant Sinha, said he personally favours balancing crypto innovation and regulation.

Sinha told CNBC TV18 that the committee has not formulated any view on cryptocurrency yet.

“Members of Parliament wanted to understand what is happening in the industry landscape and what are challenges and opportunities in crypto finance. Cryptocurrency has an impact on monetary policy and fiscal stability. It should not be used for illicit trade or terror financing. It is important to balance innovation and regulation," he said.

Citing crypto exchange representatives who attended the meeting, Sinha said that various exchanges together have 15 million KYC-approved users, with an investment value of $6 billion.

A committee member from the opposition said there is no consensus yet on the way forward.

“First of all, the government has to make up its mind on what it is that they want to do; they need to come out with some kind of a policy paper, which they can ask the standing committee to examine," he said.

“The question is, how do you legalize 8,000-9,000 headless chickens running around the internet? Legalizing cryptocurrencies would be like legalizing trolls on social media," he said on condition of anonymity.

It is still unclear whether the cryptocurrency bill will be tabled during the upcoming Winter session of the Parliament, a person aware of the discussions said on condition of anonymity.

According to this person, the meeting was mostly exploratory, and its “look and feel" allayed fears of an overarching ban on cryptocurrencies.

A bill listed on the agenda of the Lok Sabha, ahead of the February session, had suggested that such a ban may be in the works. The same has been rumoured about since then, though the tide seems to be turning in favour of crypto firms since the monsoon session of the Parliament.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said ahead of the February session that the government would take a “calibrated" approach towards cryptocurrencies.

Crypto exchanges and industry associations have also suggested regulating the industry instead of banning it.

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