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No decision yet on crypto ads ban, Cryptocurrency bill to be introduced soon: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

She said in the Rajya Sabha that ASCI guidelines are being studied for regulating ads, while terming cryptocurrencies a “risky area”

Nirmala Sitharaman

During the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, when asked by the members of the Upper House if the Government proposes to ban misleading crypto advertisements in media, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the guidelines of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) are being studied “so that we can take, if necessary, some kind of a position or a decision to see how we are going to handle it”.

She said, "This is a risky area and not in a complete regulatory framework. No decision was taken on banning its advertisements. Steps are being taken to create awareness through RBI and SEBI."

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She added that there is no decision to stop advertisements for digital currencies. She also informed the House that the government does not collect data on Bitcoin transactions.

Shrenik Gandhi, CEO and Co-founder, White Rivers Media, said, “Cryptocurrency brands are self-regulating their ads and have subdued the spending till there is clarity. I think it is an intelligent move and must be continued till there is an official word on what’s next? It's a very mature stance that the leading cryptocurrency brands in India have taken and I am sure they will reap the rewards of this timely action.”

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Upon being asked how the agencies and publishers on which the crypto brands spend heavily would be impacted if the Centre bans cryptocurrency, he said, “It is wrong to speculate on such sensitive matters. The government has given very clear indications that they are not intending to ban but to bring out regulations. The cryptocurrency industry has been chasing the government to regulate the industry for the last four years and now that the regulations are in process, one should embrace and not fear it.”

FM Sitharaman said that the Government is working on a new Bill on cryptocurrency, which will take into account the rapidly changing dimensions in the virtual currency space. It will be presented to the Cabinet and introduced in the Parliament during the ongoing Winter session, she said.

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The Centre plans to introduce the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, in the Winter session of Parliament, which began Monday. The Bill seeks to ban all private cryptocurrencies, but allows for some exceptions to promote the underlying technologies, while allowing an official digital currency by RBI.

In the recent past, there have been speculations that the Government may completely ban cryptocurrencies in India.

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Earlier when BestMediaInfo had reached out to crypto platforms, they shared that the advertisements will continue, maybe with a small pause in between to get the messaging right.

Most of these platforms, including Unocoin, Coindcx, have continued with their advertisements and associations with celebrities, while a few others, like WazirX and Bitbns, have decided to abstain from putting out advertisements.

**The above information of the Rajya Sabha session has been sourced via the PTI desk.

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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