Kirit Somaiya, the Indian MP who created a bit of a stir last month by suggesting that Bitcoin is a pyramid ponzi scheme, is once again attacking the world’s best-known cryptocurrency. This time, he’s urging the government of India to come out and formally declare that Bitcoin is illegal. Somaiya leveled his latest criticism during the Parliament’s zero hour session on Wednesday.
Somaiya’s latest statement included an assertion that there is now more than Rs 2000 crore in illegal transactions each day, as criminals use Bitcoin to purchase drugs and other illegal substances. He suggested that Bitcoin is an unregulated “parallel currency” that needs to be declared illegal to prevent additional underworld activities. Somaiya repeated those calls on Twitter:
“Today again I raised Bitcoin issue in Parliament in zero hour. It's illegal & unregulated in India. Urged Govt for early action.”
The MP’s reference to Bitcoin as a ponzi scheme occurred on March 24, 2017 in a session of the Parliament. Somaiya has referenced unidentified experts to back up his claims about the digital currency, and demanded that the nation’s financial regulators intervene. That resulted in a written statement from the Union Minister of State in Finance that was erroneously interpreted by the Indian media as a declaration of Bitcoin’s illegality.
For now, Bitcoin’s legality inside India remains an open question. However, recent reports do indicate that the government may be preparing to offer some initial clues about its position within the next two weeks. According to at least one source, the Parliament has created an Inter-ministerial committee to study the matter, and a report from that committee should be delivered by as early as April 20, 2017.