The future of cryptocurrencies is looking uncertain in India. However, the government is showing faith in exploring the use of blockchain technology for helping in the digital economy.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Union Budget 2018 said the government did not consider cryptocurrencies as legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate use of these crypto-assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system.
He further added that the government will explore use of blockchain technology proactively for ushering in digital economy.
ETMarkets.com has collated a list of expert reactions from across the segments to know whether the cryptocurrencies will get extinct or not from the country.
Ashish Agarwal, Founder, Bitsachs
Jaitley's statement doesn't make bitcoin illegal in India. But it will create panic among investors and service providers most importantly banks. If banks stop support, exchanges will have to shut down services with fiat money
Ajeet Khurana, Head, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Committee of India (BACC)
Hearing the finance minister talk about cryptocurrency on Budget day is clear indication of how important and widespread this technological innovation has become in India. BACC welcomes the statement and reaffirms our unstinting assistance to the government, and all regulators, in helping evolve a robust ecosystem for cryptocurrencies
Rahul Agarwal, Director, Wealth Discovery
The government's decision to eliminate the use of cryptocurrency and in turn promote blockchain is a welcome step, most of the activity on the cryptocurrency front is speculative and has the potential for an average user who doesn't really understand the technology lose a lot of money. In few years when the cryptocurrency environment matures then these restrictions can be done away with. The promotion of blockchain by the government is positive. This technology can be used in a lot of sectors in a very productive and secure way. Cryptocurrencies are good but they have to be regulated and monitored and till the time there is a framework in place, its good to stop people in meddling with them and loosing hard earned money
Monish Panda, Founder, Monish Panda & Associates
The finance minster in his budget speech has again confirmed that the government does not recognise cryptocurrency and will take all steps to stop usage and circulation of such crypto currency. This clearly indicates that the government will now either come out with a legislative mechanism or make suitable amendment in existing legislation to ensure that dealing and trading in cryptocurrency is made illegal and to penalise entities and individuals who are involved in trading and circulation of cryptocurrency. We will have to wait and watch as to what will be final framework of such legislation, if such legislation is introduced
Rashmi Deshpande, Associate Partner, Khaitan & Co
The announcement on the cryptocurrency by the FM should not be misinterpreted to mean the cryptocurrency is going to be discouraged by the Government. The intention is more likely to regulate the circulation to avoid its usage for illegal transactions. In addition, the Government has recognized the viability of blockchain technology that powers cryptocurrency. Efforts should be made to bring in regulations at the earliest to achieve this aim.