According to a report in the Times of India, MPs at Thursday’s Parliamentary Standing Committee of Finance meeting had serious questions about Bitcoin’s potential use as a vehicle for terror financing and criminal activities. While many of their questions had been raised by individual members in recent months, this meeting saw concerns raised by politicians representing a diverse range of political views.
In addition to questions that focused on the cryptocurrency’s potential for serving as a funding mechanism for terror, MPs also expressed fears that digital currency could provide a new way for criminals to cycle so-called “black money” or engage in other illicit schemes. One member, Kirit Somaiya, is reported to have questioned the government’s failure to properly clarify digital currency’s legal status within India.
Recent ransomware attacks involving the WannaCry virus were apparently on some members’ minds as well, as Trinamool Congress party member Dinesh Trivedi offered his own perspective on digital currency’s role in those types of cyber activities:
“Today, data is the new oil and Bitcoin is the ransom finance platform.”
Many of the gathered members also reportedly urged officials from the finance ministry to further investigate digital currency technology and try to identify potential vulnerabilities. At the same time, MPs asked the ministry officials to resist calls to formally legalize Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
That request comes at a time when the government has invited members of the public to express their opinions on the future role of digital currency in India. The nation’s officials are currently accepting public comments through the MyGov discussion platform, as well as suggestions for how the currencies should be regulated in the event that they are given legal status. That public comment period will end on May 31.