Form association to engage with policy-makers
Bitcoin start-ups have urged the Centre to allow self-regulation of the segment.
Digital Asset and Block Chain Foundation of India (DABFI), an association of Indian bitcoin start-ups comprising the likes of Zebpay, Unocoin and SearchTrade, is seeking a clear guideline with regard to investments in virtual currencies. Vishal Gakhar, former Director General of Indian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers Association (IEEMA), was recently appointed to lead the association, which is in the process of getting registered.
Speaking to BusinessLine, Gakharsaid, “Once the association is formally registered, we are looking forward to working with bitcoin start-ups and engage with government think-tanks that were set up to study the virtual currency.
“Both the government and the RBI have so far been tight-lipped with respect to giving recognition to bitcoins.”
“Our main objective would involve creating more investor awareness and educating people regarding crypto-currencies and the start-ups which are offering these services,” he said.
Bitcoin, which was founded as a peer-to-peer electronic payment system, to enable transfer of money between parties without going through a banking system, has witnessed a massive surge in its valuation.
According to Coinmarketcap.com, the valuation of crytpocurrency has surged to $3,300 a unit in less than a decade after it was formed. The total market capitalisation of the 1,048 crypto-currencies stands at $121 billion.
The RBI has been keeping a tab on the increasing use of crypto-currencies and it had issued an advisory in this regard in 2013, cautioning users, holders and traders of virtual currencies on the potential financial, legal and security risks.
The Finance Ministry also held a public consultation on regulating virtual currencies in May 2017.
The overarching issues of regulation, monitoring, measures for consumer protection and security pose a dilemma before the regulatory bodies.
(The writer is an intern with the Mumbai bureau)