Govt con­sid­er­ing its own cryp­tocur­rency

To be named ‘Lak­shmi’, cur­rency to fall in the do­main of Re­serve Bank

Business Standard - - FRONT PAGE - RA­JESH BHAYANI

The Cen­tral gov­ern­ment is con­sid­er­ing a pro­posal to in­tro­duce its cryp­tocur­rency sim­i­lar to Bit­coin.

Sources close to the de­vel­op­ment said that the pro­posal was dis­cussed by a com­mit­tee of gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, and the panel found the idea of set­ting up and run­ning blockchain for fi­nan­cial ser­vices use­ful.

When­ever the de­ci­sion is taken, the cryp­tocur­rency will fall in the do­main of the Re­serve Bank of In­dia (RBI) and some Acts such as the Cur­rency Act might have to be amended. Hence, this will be a time-con­sum­ing process.

Sources also said the gov­ern­ment might name its cryp­tocur­rency “Lak­shmi”.

Vaib­hav Parikh, part­ner, Nishith De­sai As­so­ciates, said: “I won't be sur­prised if the gov­ern­ment comes up with its own cryp­tocur­rency be­cause banks are try­ing blockchain as a tech­nol­ogy and to make blockchain work it would need some cryp­tocur­rency. Since it doesn’t trust Bit­coin it may come up with their own cur­rency."

Run­ning a ledger-like blockchain cryp­tocur­rency is re­quired for set­tle­ment and the RBI and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have said that they are not com­fort­able with Bit­coin.

China, Rus­sia, and Es­to­nia are said to be con­sid­er­ing hav­ing their own cryp­tocur­ren­cies.

A few days ago RBI Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Su­dar­shan Sen had talked about the cen­tral bank’s dis­com­fort with Bit­coin, which has re­cently come un­der in­tense global reg­u­la­tory scru­tiny.

He had also hinted at the need for In­dia’s own cryp­tocur­rency.

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