India’s draft bill proposes a 10-year jail sentence for using cryptocurrencies

India has proposed a draft bill banning cryptocurrency trading, which could impose severe criminal penalties for violations, Bloomberg Quint writes.

If the 'Banning Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019' becomes law, mining, generating, holding, buying, selling or dealing in cryptocurrencies “directly or indirectly” will become illegal in the country. The offense would be deemed “cognisable and non-bailable.” Those breaking the new rules may face up to a ten-year prison sentence as well as hefty fines, amounting to up to three times their gains.

“The penalty imposed on the accused, according to the bill, shall be either thrice the loss caused to the system, or three-fold the gains made by him/her, whichever is higher,” Bloomberg Quint writes. “If the loss or gain can’t be reasonably determined, the maximum fine that can be imposed may be notified by the government.”

If the drafted bill becomes the law, cryptocurrency holders will have 90 days to declare and dispose of cryptocurrencies “in accordance with the prescription of central government.” 

As reported before, the Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg led the panel working on the bill. The panel also included representatives of India's central bank, members of Securities and Exchange Board of India, the Central Board of Direct Taxes, and some investigative agencies.

The new bill also proposed creating a new official cryptocurrency—the Digital Rupee. Earlier this year, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) claimed it was no longer planning to issue a digital currency.