The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India's central bank, has established a fintech department to assist in the creation of legislation for cryptocurrency and the country's planned central bank digital currency (CBDC). The bank is developing wholesale and retail CBDCs, and the new department will be in charge of managing their development. A report by Coindesk highlighted that Ajay Kumar Choudhary, the RBI's current chief general manager, will be in charge of the department.
It is to be noted that the department's mandate is to monitor "new age difficulties" originating from fintech applications, and crypto is only a small portion of that mandate. This means that, while cryptocurrencies and their challenges will be supervised, they may not be first on the department's agenda.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), particularly its governor Shaktikanta Das, has been a strong opponent of Bitcoin in India. In several instances, Das has warned against the use of cryptocurrencies in India and expressed concern about the growing amount of money invested in crypto-trading in the country. While there is no precise estimate of the total number of crypto traders and users in India, the country's top crypto exchanges claim to have millions of members.
Crypto legislation long-pending
India has been drafting legislation to govern cryptocurrencies. The bill in question was first placed on the agenda for the Parliament's budget session in January 2021, however, it was not introduced during that session. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and other ministers have hinted at what the bill would contain, and it was also on the agenda of the Parliament's recently finished Winter Session. The RBI's decision could be excellent news for the industry, which has been requesting crypto regulations for a long time.