UK: Bank of England Researching Digital Currency, No Plans To Launch

Despite rumours to the contrary, the UK government have announced that they will not be following the likes of Venezuela in launching their own digital currency for now. Whilst the Bank of England are indeed studying the implications of centrally-issued electronic currency, a government minister has stated that there are no plans in the immediate future to launch their own.

Government Respond to Opposition Query

According to the Independent, the issue was raised by a Labour MP in early February. Barry Sheerman asked “whether the Government will introduce a fiat digital currency.”

John Glen, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister, has since responded in the negative:

“The Bank of England does not currently plan to issue a central bank-issued digital currency… However, the Bank is undertaking research to better understand the implications of a central bank issuing a digital currency.”

As mentioned, the Bank of England is studying the area closely. It has produced its own digital currencies page. It states that they are “carrying out ongoing research” into electronic currencies and their underlying technology. On the website, they are careful to differentiate between what they strangely refer to as “private digital currencies” such as Bitcoin (the entirely permission-less, border-less cryptocurrency that has no central issuing authority and can be accessed and used by any member of the public across the globe) and “central bank-issued digital currencies”. The latter would likely require all transactions be authorised by the bank themselves and thus entirely miss the point (and therefore the revolutionary and transformative power) of truly decentralised cryptocurrencies.

The page goes on to say that the Bank of England perceives no immediate threat from digital currencies. They state:

“We have assessed private digital currencies and concluded that while they are interesting, they do not currently pose a material risk to monetary or financial stability in the UK. We continue to monitor developments in this area.”

Whilst the recent announcement from Glen clearly states that a centrally-issued electronic currency would not be launched in the UK anytime soon, the research by the central bank, along with the lack of an explicit ruling out of the possibility in the future leaves the door open for a  U-turn at a later date.

As part of the bank’s research, the institution will no doubt be carefully following the development of Venezuela’s El Petro. The South American nation recently launched their own digital currency that is backed by their oil reserves. It will provide financial institutions around the globe a useful case study for developing their own policies towards electronically-issued currency and whether or not they too will launch their own.

Meanwhile, it appears that other nations are following Venezuela’s lead. Both Turkey and Iran have been considering the possibility of creating their own national digital currencies. Meanwhile, Russia is also taking steps in a similar direction. It’s thought that the CryptoRuble will help the nation avoid various international sanctions levied against it.


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GDAX, the trading arm of cryptocurrency brokerage Coinbase, announced today that they will implement full SegWit support for Bitcoin transactions in the coming days. The protocol upgrade aims to make transactions quicker and cheaper for users of BTC.

GDAX Joins Coinbase and Bitfinex

GDAX are the latest of the cryptocurrency industry’s major players to offer support for SegWit. They follow their parent-company Coinbase and Hong Kong-based exchange Bitfinex in rolling out the upgrade. GDAX made the announcement earlier today via their blog:

“We are excited to announce that GDAX now supports Segregated Witness (SegWit) transactions on the Bitcoin network. Over the coming days, full support for SegWit transactions will be rolling out to 100% of our customers. SegWit is a critical step forward in the development of Bitcoin and we are thrilled to support it on GDAX.”

The post went on to explain how the SegWit (or Segregated Witness) upgrade works. Put simply, the transaction data is split using SegWit. This makes it possible to only store necessary transaction data on the blockchain. With transactions requiring less information be included on-chain, more of them can fit into each block. This, in turn, reduces the need for users to increase their transaction fees. Previously, when the blockchain was full, users would be required to use a large fee if they wanted the network to validate their transaction before others also waiting. This forced users to continually increase their fees until they reached the point where some declared the network as “broken“.

Later in GDAX’s post, they state that the address format that they will use will be compatible with all existing BTC addresses. All withdrawals from GDAX will, therefore, be sent using SegWit.

The company are careful to point out that the new format will no longer be the same as Bitcoin Cash (BCH) addresses, however. This means that if BCH is sent to GDAX’s BTC address, the funds will be lost forever. To reduce the likelihood of this occurring, an additional warning will be displayed when making deposits to the exchange. It will read:

“Only send Bitcoin (BTC) to this address.

Sending any other digital asset including Bitcoin Cash (BCH) or Tether will result in permanent loss of funds.”

GDAX go on to state their commitment to providing customers with the latest Bitcoin upgrades. They claim to be currently working on additional scalability improvements to help further reduce fees and increase the network’s capacity. These include “transaction batching and UTXO management.”

Finally, GDAX are appealing to anyone interested in working on scalability protocols such as the Lightning Network to contact them. They are currently hiring staff in New York, London, and San Francisco.

Since the announcement earlier this week that both Coinbase and Bitfinex have also implemented SegWit transactions, transaction fees on the Bitcoin network have fallen to historic lows.

Evidently, SegWit is helping to ease congestion on the Bitcoin network and this in turn is restoring the original cryptocurrency’s usability. As additional companies and wallet providers begin to integrate the upgrade, and more scaling techniques become available, the utility of the Bitcoin network is only set to grow.

A British man has been arrested on money laundering charges in Holland. He is alleged to have been running a “money cleaning” service for clients trading on the dark web between the years 2014 and 2016. The Dutch Public Prosecutor demanded on Wednesday that he serves at least five years in prison.

Funds Likely Came From Illicit Sources

According to NL Times, the laundered money is thought to have come from various dark web dealings in illicit goods. The man accused is a 38-year-old British man living in Amsterdam. It’s alleged that he was responsible for “cleaning” over 11.5 million euros during the years he was active. It’s thought that he received Bitcoin from dealers of narcotics and other contraband items and sold them using his own bank account. He then withdrew the funds in local currency and returned them, minus a cut for himself, to the original party.

The Public Prosecutor alleges that the man took an “unusually high” percentage of the funds. It’s thought that he charged between five and eight percent for carrying some of the burdens of risk for his clients. The accused and his spouse were living predominantly off their ill-gotten gains. The Prosecutor added that neither of them earns much in the way of legal income.

Along with the charges of money laundering, the suspect is also thought to have been previously cultivating cannabis illegally. Photos on his computer of large cannabis plantations at his previous home support this. The Prosecutor stated:

“He thought he had seen a gap in the market and jumped into it… He started with a cannabis plantation, sold the harvest on the dark web and was paid in bitcoins. Soon he noticed that he no longer needed the weed to make a substantial turnover and a fine profit.”

The man accused is adamant that all those he dealt with over the years 2014-16 were law-abiding citizens. He refutes the allegation that they were involved in any illicit trade. It’s thought that the court will rule on the matter in early March.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have long been associated with money laundering. However, just because something illegal is possible using a certain tool doesn’t mean the tool ought to be forever tarred with that brush. It’s possible to murder someone with a lump hammer. Are all lump hammers associated with murder? No, of course they’re not.

Critics of Bitcoin love to play the money laundering card whenever they can. The fact is there are plenty more examples of money laundering that takes place using other forms of currency. Recently, US Bankcorp were forced to pay a hefty fine for the very same crime. Also, one of Bitcoin’s fiercest naysayers, Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase, has repeatedly stated that crypto is only good for criminal use. This includes money laundering. Just weeks after making his famous “fraud” remarks JP Morgan themselves were charged with money laundering. Evidently, current money laundering laws are failing and it’s a cop-out to blame an innovative form of currency for their shortcomings.

Four men have been arrested in Taiwan in connection with a Bitcoin robbery. During the incident, the suspects were able to make off with Bitcoin worth over 5 million Taiwanese dollars – the equivalent of around US$170,000. Authorities have deemed it the first case of Bitcoin robbery in the nation.

Suspects Posed as Potential Buyers of Bitcoin

According to local authorities, the victim was lured to the city of Taichung. He was under the impression that he was meeting a group to sell them Bitcoins.

After meeting with three men, the victim – surnamed Tai – showed them proof that he did indeed have the Bitcoin needed to make the trade on his phone. It was then that the suspects assaulted both Tai and his friend. The victims suitably incapacitated, the three men then sent 18BTC from the wallet on the phone to one under their control.

In an effort to cover their tracks, the suspects then forced the victims to drink a strong liquor known as Kaoliang, which is extremely popular in Taiwan. According to Taichung police, they were trying to pass the incident off as a drunken argument.

Police was alerted by a witness to the altercation. They were able to arrest one man at the scene but the others had already fled. Later, the other men were both arrested. One had attempted to evade capture by travelling to the neighbouring island of Kinmen.

According to Arab News, a statement from local law enforcement released on Wednesday described the incident as the “first domestic case of Bitcoin robbery.” It went on to say:

 “The police saw bloodstains at the scene … after further investigation, it was discovered to be a bitcoin virtual currency robbery.”

A fourth man was also detained in connection with the incident. He is believed to be responsible for planning the entire robbery.

Whilst this is the first case of Bitcoin robbery in Taiwan, it is by no means unique globally. Just last month, a similar incident occurred in the UK. This time, armed robbers broke into a property and held two victims at gunpoint until they transferred an unknown amount of Bitcoin to them.

Also last month, there was an incident of attempted Bitcoin robbery against a company in Ottawa, Canada. During this case, employees of Canadian Bitcoins were held hostage and demands were made for them to send funds to a wallet in the kidnappers’ control. However, the plan was foiled by an additional employee who was able to alert the authorities without being noticed by the criminal gang. They were forced to flee before any transfer could be made.

As the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies increases, it’s likely we’ll see more incidents of robbery and extortion occurring against holders of digital coins. For this reason, it’s wise to avoid disclosing holdings to others. In addition, care should be taken when trying to trade Bitcoin in person with someone you don’t know.

 

Government-backed researchers in Canada are planning to unite with India’s technology industry association NASSCOM to research blockchain. Together, the two hope to create an global epicentre for studying the implications and applications of the innovative tech leading to increased “high-end technology capabilities.”

Blockchain: Beyond Cryptocurrency

The teaming up of Canada’s Blockchain Research Institute (BRI) and NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies) aims to explore the use of blockchain technology in both government and academia. There are several areas in which India perceive blockchain to be disruptive to current industries, both financial and otherwise. These include land registry, healthcare, and banking.

The announcement of the union between BRI and NASSCOM, combined with the recent news that India are forming a “Future Skills” initiative aimed at educating their youth in cutting edge technology, clearly evidence a nation positioning itself as a hub for innovation in the blockchain industry. The educational platform was announced just days ago by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the World Congress on Information Technology 2018.

Meanwhile, the BRI’s stated goal is to “build blockchain-based economies around the world”. With their assistance, plus an increasingly blockchain-literate young workforce, India could well rise to the top in the field of research and application of the exciting and potentially disruptive technology. Narendra Modi’s government have even earmarked around US$500 million for developing the digital economy. This represents a doubling of public spending on the sector.

According to CNN, Don Tapscott, the founder and executive chairman of the Canadian institute, stated:

“We see our coalition with NASSCOM as a delightful opportunity to nurture the blockchain community in India… We strongly believe that India has the potential to lead the blockchain revolution.”

Whilst the Indian government are evidently receptive to the innovative potential of the blockchain, they seem somewhat more hesitant when it comes to the first real application of the technology – crytocurrency. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently stated in his 2018/19 Budget Speech:

“The government does not consider crypto-currencies legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate the use of these cryptoassets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system.”

This statement has been interpreted in two ways. Firstly, there are those who believe it represents out and out hostility towards digital currency. This wouldn’t be surprising from a nation who have taken extremely misguided measures such as demonetisation policies in the past. However, there are also those who stress the use of the word “illegitimate” in Jaitely’s statement. This could be interpreted as meaning greater efforts to curtail money laundering offences made possible by cryptocurrency whilst not ensuring any form of blanket ban for its legitimate use.

 

 

As cryptocurrency usage becomes more widespread both above and below the law, various authorities are increasingly required to perform seizures on funds used in criminal cases. Thanks to the various anonymity properties of digital coins, however, it’s proving difficult to track these forfeitures. This lack of transparency leaves critics of the government musing over the possibility that not all digital currency is being sold fairly and through the correct channels. If only there was some way of publicly recording details regarding funds acquired through forfeiture and their sale…

Seizures are Rife, Reports are Less So

There is no shortage of examples of government agencies seizing digital currencies. High profile cases like that of Alexandre Cazes, the ringleader behind global dark web marketplace Alpha Bay, and Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind behind Silk Road have involved huge sums of cryptocurrency being turned over to the government.

More recently, 513 Bitcoins were seized from a seller of counterfeit pharmaceuticals in Utah, and Fortune reports a kidnapping case in which a man was bundled into what he thought was an Uber and was forced to surrender private keys at gunpoint. Those behind the incident were able to make off with $1.8 million in ETH tokens. They promptly converted these to BTC which then soared in price. What remains unclear is who should receive all that extra cash.

There are many more examples of forfeiture involving digital currency making the total amount of seized funds incredibly difficult to work out. This is exacerbated by anonymity properties of digital coins, along with the penchant for secrecy within some of the agencies making the seizures.

A website, Forfeiture.gov, exists that documents cases of forfeiture in the States. However, their records are fleeting. They’re regularly updated and old cases are removed with the addition of new ones. In addition, there are often long periods between the seizure of assets and their appearance in any records and some sales of cryptocurrency aren’t reported at all.

It seems somewhat ironic that the very technology behind digital currency, the blockchain, could provide the transparency needed in such matters. An attorney who has worked extensively on cases of forfeiture, Alex Lakatos, feels that some form of central registry would be beneficial:

“This country is weirdly lacking in central registries… we don’t know how much property has been seized.”

Since there is no law obliging the government to provide such a ledger, one has yet to be created. It’s argued that increased transparency would likely tip criminals off to the methods used by law enforcement and thus undermine operations.

However, there are plenty who feel that this lack of transparency is completely unacceptable and promotes underhand behaviour from those working in government agencies. Clifford Histed, an attorney at K&L Gates spoke to Fortune of the historical precedent for embezzlement in cases of forfeiture:

“I’ve spent 23 years in law enforcement and, unfortunately, I believe as long as police have been seizing cash, some have been skimming it… I don’t think Bitcoin will prove any different.”

Whilst there is no hard evidence to suggest that government agents have been misappropriating funds from seizures, the ease with which it could be taking place concerns lawyers and libertarians alike. An investigation into the Marshals Service last September uncovered examples of the agency using seized funds to pay for such unnecessary luxuries as “high-end granite countertops and expensive custom artwork.” Amusingly, much of this was found at the new Asset Forfeiture Academy in Houston. Surely, with such incidents occurring and the numbers of seizures only set to grow, there should be some effort made to provide transparency to avoid allegations of corruptions.

 

 

 

Recognising its importance as a revolutionary technology, an Australian university has today announced the country’s first course on blockchain technology. It’s being hosted by Melbourne’s RMIT University and is scheduled to start in mid-March.

Blockchain Skills in High Demand

The eight-week short-course aims to address the current vacuum of young talent familiar with blockchain technology. Alan Tsen, a manager at one of the tech companies behind the new course, Stone and Chalk, told local news source 9news:

“There is a real demand for blockchain training and a skills gap in the market that needs to be addressed.”

Along with Stone and Chalk, the course has been developed by the university’s Blockchain Innovation Hub and graduate services provider, Accenture. Jason Potts of the former organisation told Business Insider about the technological complexities of blockchain and what the short course hopes to provide for students:

“It’s actually quite hard to understand… a whole lot of different technologies have come together to contribute to it working… Much of this course is designed to help executives and business leaders to understand not just how this new technology works, and understanding what’s actually behind it, but also how it reflects business models and business strategy.”

Without initiatives like the Melbourne university course, the lack of relevant skills issue is only set to get worse. The industry is rapidly expanding and according to tech think tank Gartner Research, will be worth over $176 billion by 2025.

Whilst the first practical application of the technology was cryptocurrency, there are various startups that are experimenting with it for a variety of different purposes. These include cybersecurity, resource management, healthcare, and the legal profession, to name but a few.

One company currently studying how blockchain technology can disrupt existing industries is Power Ledger. Also based in Australia, the startup hopes to provide a platform for sharing solar energy. They received substantial funding in late 2017 from a smart cities grant issued by the government. No doubt co-founder Jemma Green is as excited to hear about local educational institutions taking the technology seriously as she was about being named beneficiary of the government’s support:

“We are really delighted to see the federal government supporting Australian innovation, and recognising the role blockchain can potentially play for more resilient and efficient ecosystems.”

Whilst the Melbourne RMIT University blockchain course might be the first of its kind in Australia, it’s by no means unique globally. Institutions from Cyprus to the US and UK are now offering similar programmes. Evidently, with universities as prestigious as Berkeley in California taking notice of the technology, the future is bright for the blockchain space.

The cryptocurrency space possesses two qualities that make it the ideal environment for scams. Firstly, there is no shortage of legitimate anecdotes about people who have enjoyed immense wealth courtesy of early digital currency investments. The proliferation of such tales provides the perfect backdrop for a “get rich quick” scheme. Secondly, since the technology is incredibly tough for the layperson to understand, a lot of information has to be taken on trust. Unfortunately, thanks to these two factors, there’s a growing list of stories of people who have been duped out of large sums of money. Here are some tips to help you avoid joining it.

Common Crypto Scams and Their Tell-Tale Signs

Ponzi Schemes: Ponzi schemes work by recruiting new investors to generate returns for their first backers. These scams usually fall to pieces when it becomes apparent that there isn’t actually enough money being generated for all investors.

A common red flag of ponzi schemes is that they promise a high rate of return with very little risk. This is contrary to the usual investment maxim of “high risk/high reward”. Put simply, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Another red flag to watch out for is multi-level or tiered marketing structures. If it sounds like one level is relying on the efforts of a lower tier to generate profits, you’re likely dealing with a ponzi scheme

Examples of recent cryptocurrency ponzi schemes include Bitconnect. Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin was amongst those to call Bitconnect out based on their hugely optimistic forecast for investor returns:

Exit Scams: Exit scams are common in the ICO space. They rely on a gullible investor pool and reasonably savvy presentation of a company that doesn’t exist. Those behind the scam will launch an ICO, usually with the most grandiose of claims, before disappearing entirely.

Red flags of exit scams would be incomprehensible white papers, none existent teams, and extravagant profit projections. With it being so easy to pull off an ICO exit scam, it’s important to thoroughly research any project before backing it with hard cash. Study the white paper. Check out the team and their backgrounds.

Remember, most ICOs will probably fail at delivering the promises made to investors eventually. Add in the fact that some of them are downright scams and the chances of an investment falling to zero are even greater.

A recent example of an exit scam was Confido. They successfully raised $300,000 at ICO before promptly disappearing.

Phishing Scams: Phishing has been a popular scam amongst cybercriminals for a long time. The premise behind phishing scams is to trick an internet user into handing over valuable or sensitive data to the scammer. They do this by creating websites or emails with an uncanny resemblance to a trusted service. With potentially huge value now accessible through purely digital means, it’s unsurprising that phishing scammers are targeting cryptocurrency users.

Red flags of phishing websites or emails are non-secured webpage URLs or requests for sensitive data. Check that the website uses a secure address (starts with https rather than just http). In addition, look out for any strange characters within the address itself. Be particularly mindful of the use of tiny dots above or below letters. Also, avoid sponsored advertisements on search engines or social media. If you use an exchange or similar service regularly, type the URL in yourself and bookmark the page after checking its SSL security.

 

These are just a few of the various scams around and their telltale signs. While the cryptocurrency market remains predominantly lawless, such deceptions will unfortunately be part and parcel of it. Bitcoin and other digital currencies allow their proponents to essentially become their own bank. Whilst this ensures unprecedented freedom from traditional financial institutions, it also demands that investors and users are responsible for their own funds.

Despite threats of some of the planet’s harshest punishments, police in Bangladesh are struggling to stamp out the use of cryptocurrency in accordance with their legislation. Several different groups have recently combined resources at the behest of the central bank. As yet, there has been little progress towards eradicating the use of digital currency.

Harsh Penalties for Cryptocurrency Trading are Nothing New

Bangladesh’s draconian attitudes towards the rapidly expanding cryptocurrency space are hardly a recent development. Back in September 2014, the government made it illegal to transact in any form of digital currency. The maximum penalty for doing so is an unfathomably strict 12 years of jail time.

Late last year, the inefficacy of the threat of such harsh sanctions was revealed. A notice from the Bangladeshi Central Bank entitled “Caution on Bitcoin Transaction: Warning against online transactions in Cryptocurrency (eg. Bitcoin, Litecoin)” proved that the rampant use of digital currency in the nation was still a concern for the central financial institution. The document stated:

“As these are not legal tenders issued by any legal authorities of the country, no one can make any financial claim against these.”

The notice went on to state that those trading in digital currencies may be violating the Money Laundering Prevention Act 2012. In addition, the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act of 1947 was cited, along with a general plea from the bank for people to “not make transactions in virtual currencies.”

The latter request, along with recent multilateral efforts from various government and non-government departments to track down cryptocurrency users highlight how difficult the issue is to police.

The Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) and Foreign Exchange Police Department are currently searching for cryptocurrency traders. They have also drafted in the assistance of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).

Nazmil Islam, Assistant Deputy Commissioner of the Cyber Crime Unit, told the Dhaka Tribune:

“We have already located a few bitcoin users, and are on the hunt for more, along with a few web pages which are being checked for authenticity. Investigating cryptocurrency trading is a complex matter.”

Bangladeshis working in the freelance sector and those who frequently travel outside of the nation are amongst those most likely to trade digital currencies, or so the BFIU believe. They also suggest that some notable cricket players have become involved with the space.

Despite the recent step up in operations against those dealing in cryptocurrencies, several factors point to a general failure by the authorities to curb the perceived problem. LocalBitcoins Bangladesh still has active traders offering to buy and sell BTC and another peer-to-peer platform, Paxful, offers Bangladeshi citizens over 300 different payment options for trading the digital currency. Meanwhile, a Facebook page called “Bitcoin Exchange: Bitcoin Buy and Sell Bangladesh” has also been created.

Finally, it’s rare to see governments and central banks issuing pleas like the one of December 2017 for people to stop committing crimes that are easily policed. If it was a simple task for authorities to track down and prosecute those who flout the law, an example would have surely been made by one unfortunate victim of the draconian legislation by now.

Meanwhile, there are also calls for the Bangladeshi authorities to stop wasting their scant resources on such “crimes”. A reporter for the Dhaka Tribune argued that the nation was in no position to be unsuccessfully chasing Bitcoin users:

“… crime rates are through the roof, corruption is omnipresent within our government, and terrorists are getting bail with impunity, our police force would do well to focus its efforts elsewhere… A quick glance at the streets is enough to betray the lawlessness which has overtaken our roads: Laws continue to be broken with little to no consequences, and police are often too happy to look away.”

The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, announced today the formation of a platform aiming to provide education on various cutting-edge technologies. The initiative will be known as Future Skills.

Future Skills Platform to Focus on Blockchain Technology

The platform was announced today at the World Congress on Information Technology 2018 (WCIT). The event was attended by ICT associations from over 80 different nations.

NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies), India’s main information technology group, are behind the platform. They are hoping to provide the 18 to 35-year-olds of the nation with a better grounding in cutting-edge technologies. A total of eight areas were mentioned. These included blockchain technology.

The association have previously held workshop sessions on blockchain technology and readily acknowledge its potential. In a post on their website, they write:

“While we have witnessed how the ‘Internet of Information’ has changed our society over the past two decades, we are now entering a phase where Blockchain may do the same by ushering in a new paradigm comprising ‘Internet of Trust’ and ‘Internet of Value’.”

NASSCOM is also amongst those behind India’s first blockchain special interest group. The goal of this is to explore how blockchain technology can impact various industries, both financial and otherwise.

Also today, Narendra Modi Tweeted part of the address he gave to WCIT:

This was shortly followed by a post from Law & Justice, and Information Technology Minister of India, Ravi Shankar Prasad. Prasad included a brief overview of the Future Skills initiative, as well as a video of Modi’s presentation to the Congress:

Despite the news that India seems to be fully embracing the transformative power of blockchain, the leaders of the country still seem opposed to the concept of decentralised cryptocurrencies.

In a budget speech given earlier this month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stated:

“The government does not consider crypto-currencies legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate the use of these cryptoassets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system.”

Also within the speech delivered February 1, Jaitley added:

“… the government will explore use of block chain technology proactively for ushering in [the] digital economy.”

This was followed up by the announcement of a doubling of government spending on the digital economy. Around US$500 million has been reportedly earmarked for the sector.

Despite the Indian government’s focus on the technology behind cryptocurrencies and their perceived hostility towards the first practical application of it, digital currency exchanges in the country have recently made moves to self-regulate. Seven of the major Indian platforms have come together to form the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Committee. It’s hoped that such initiatives will discourage the central government declaring any sort of blanket ban on cryptocurrencies.

 

Image: Wikimedia Commons