Cryptomarkets are reacting to fresh regulatory comments on crypto from India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley, made during his last budget speech in the Parliament on Feb.1.
After Jaitley stated in his performance that cryptocurrency is not legal tender in the country and promised to abolish “illegitimate activities” connected with crypto, a flood of misinterpreted comments warning of an immediate prohibition appeared across the mainstream press and social media.
Bitcoin markets in turn fell in trading on Thursday, Bitcoin dropping under $9,512 after breaking $10,300 Wednesday, Jan. 31, data from Bitstamp shows.
India has been sporadic in its attempts to execute cryptocurrency regulation over the past 2 years. Since the country’s currency reforms, interest in Bitcoin notably has shoot up, with local exchanges reporting huge growth.
In the meantime, India’s central bank has issued repeated warnings on cryptocurrency investment, some of which seemed to be illegal.
During his budget speech today, Jaitley stated:
“The government does not recognise cryptocurrency as 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 payments system.”
Meanwhile Jaitley’s speech notably avoided any mention of legality of crypto in and of itself, commentaries by third parties and mass media journalists controversially stated that a ban was close.
“Arun Jaitley has just killed India’s cryptocurrency party,” Quartz’s article on the subject proclaims, citing a lawyer who expects “a legislative mechanism or… 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 their trade and circulation.”
On Twitter, the nosy reading of Jaitley’s words continued, with statements of Bitcoin being “illegal” and soon to be “eliminated.”