Indian FinMin Bashes Crypto Over Money Laundering, Terrorist Risks

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Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reiterated her strict approach to crypto at an International Monetary Fund (IMF) meet in Washington D.C. on Monday.

The finance minister bashed crypto for its money laundering risks and potential use in financing terrorist groups, and called for a globally coordinated approach to crypto regulation.

Sitharaman also touted the benefits of using central bank digital currencies over crypto. Her comments come just weeks after India imposed a steep 30% tax on digital assets- a move intended to dissuade investors from trading crypto.

Indian Finance Minister Raises Crypto Concerns

During the “Money at a Crossroad” panel discussion of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Sitharaman raised concerns over the unregulated crypto market, use of cryptocurrencies in money laundering, and financing terrorist organizations.

She said  cross-border payments using unhosted crypto wallets pose a risk and require a global regulated approach by countries. However, central bank digital currencies by central banks will effectively improve cross-border payments. She said:

“I think regulation using technology is the only answer. Regulation using technology will have to be so adept, that it has to be not behind the curve, but be sure that it is on the top of it. And that’s not possible. If any one country thinks that it can handle it. It has to be across the board.”

Furthermore, the Indian Finance Minister stressed on the increasing digital adoption rate in India. In fact, 1 in 4 startups in the fintech industry are becoming unicorns, with a total of 20 unicorns belonging to fintech in the last 2-3 years.

The panel discussion also featured panelists including Kristalina Georgieva, managing director at IMF, Roberto Campos Neto, president of the Central Bank of Brazil, and Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Indian crypto laws confound exchanges, investors

After several crypto exchanges began accepting UPI as a payment option in early April, India’s  payments regulator said it was unaware of such an approval.

As a result, several crypto exchanges in India such as Coinbase, CoinDCX, and WazirX stopped accepting crypto payments using UPI.

Confusion over the payment system, coupled with a steep 30% tax on digital assets spurred a sharp decline in India’s crypto trading volumes in April.


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