Sunday, 23 September, 2018

Indian Finance Ministry: Cryptocurrencies Are 'Like Ponzi Schemes'

AFP  File  Justin TALLIS
India is the latest country to warn against investing in cryptocurrencies AFP File Justin TALLIS India is the latest country to warn against investing in cryptocurrencies
Elsie Buchanan | 01 January, 2018, 00:47

India has likened virtual currencies, including Bitcoin, to Ponzi schemes, cautioning people against getting involved with them. That said, the recent rise of the cryptocurrency prompted authorities in Asia Pacific countries from China to Australia to issue warnings against the use of such currencies. "The price of Bitcoin and other VCs (virtual currencies) therefore is entirely a matter of mere speculation resulting in spurt and volatility in their prices".

The ministry in a statement said cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and have no regulatory permission or protection in the country.

Besides, Govt. has also made it clear that such VCs don't have any "intrinsic value", and are not backed by any asset, which is normally the case with any currency.

A Ponzi scheme is a form of fraud in which belief in the success of a non-existent enterprise is fostered by the payment of quick returns to the first investors from money invested by later investors. Indirectly, Govt.is saying that don't invest in such VCs, because its value can become zero any moment.

The ministry further warned against technical risks users might encounter: "VCs are stored in digital/electronic format, making them vulnerable to hacking, loss of password, malware attack etc. which may also result in permanent loss of money".

The ministry issued a caution, outlining that encrypted transactions in cryptocurrency might be used to conduct illegal activities such as "terror-funding, smuggling, drug trafficking and other money laundering acts".

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"VCs are neither currencies nor coins". In contrast, central banks and government just can to print more money with fiat currencies as and when the perceived need arises.

Bitcoin values in NY, for instance, have soared almost 1,600 per cent over the past year and now range upwards of $15,000.

But, on Thursday, South Korea's government said it would impose additional measures to regulate cryptocurrency trading within the country, leading to speculation of an outright ban on its trading.

India now has no regulation for cryptocurrencies, and like other global policymakers, it is seeking to understand how to supervise a market that many feel is a speculative bubble.

Earlier, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on several occasions had clarified that it had not given any licence or authorisation to any entity to operate such schemes or deal with bitcoin or any other virtual and cryptocurrencies. The committee has submitted its report which is under consideration of the government, the minister said.

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