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Opinion
Andy Mukherjee

What’s India’s Beef With Bitcoin, Really?

New Delhi is sending confusing signals on its long-awaited cryptocurrency policy, which could leave it trailing way behind China’s virtual money plans.

Installation of Bitcoin art object at BitCluster cryptocurrency mining farm in Norilsk, Russia, Dec. 20.

Installation of Bitcoin art object at BitCluster cryptocurrency mining farm in Norilsk, Russia, Dec. 20.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg
Updated on

Contradictory statements and media leaks are making it impossible to get a handle on India’s soon-to-be-unveiled cryptocurrency policy. The uncertainty is throwing young blockchain firms and programmers into a paroxysm of anxiety: Should they leave or stay? If they hang back, should they do something else with their lives?

On Sunday, the global crypto industry heaved a sigh of relief when Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman categorically ruled out a much-feared blanket ban, promising to allow a window for people “to do certain experiments” using distributed ledger technologies, Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, she said at an India Today conclave.