Bitcoin could ‘spoil’ young Indians, warns Narendra Modi


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File photo

SYDNEY: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday warned that the bitcoin poses a threat to the younger generation as his government prepares to enact legislation to regulate corrupt currencies.

Addressing an online cybersecurity forum, Modi developed virtual money – which is very popular in India and beyond the control of state and central banks – as a domain that needs to be closely policed. Is.

“Take cryptocurrency or bitcoin, for example,” he told a forum hosted by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. “It’s important that all democracies work together and make sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, which could hurt our youth.”

Critics of cryptocurrencies allege that largely anonymous transfers make them an excellent tool for drug smugglers, human traffickers or money launderers.

Many countries have enacted legislation to introduce surveillance of corrupt currencies, and many jurisdictions are now subject to the same regulations as other financial services providers.

India effectively outlawed corrupt transactions in 2018, with only the country’s highest court lifting the ban two years later.

This has led to a boom in the sector as the country’s large youth population has turned its attention to advertising bulletins by Bollywood and cricket stars.

Today, more than 100 million Indians have embraced virtual currencies, leaving the country second only to the United States, Russia and Nigeria in terms of consumers, according to a report last month by investment portal BrokerChooser.

Demands for further sanctions from India are mounting, but the Modi government appears to be ready to pause briefly, rather than prioritize the stringent legislation it passed before the end of the year. can go.

The head of the Reserve Bank of India, Shakti Kantadas, had sharply criticized last week, saying that corrupt currencies posed a serious threat to the financial system if not properly regulated.

Meanwhile, the central bank is considering issuing its official digital currency.

More broadly, Modi used his speech to make India the center of global technology. His “Digital India” scheme aims to modernize and harness the technology of 1.3 billion people in the subcontinent.

Modi said that emerging technologies like quantum computing provide the best opportunities.

But, he said, it is important for democracies to “work together” to “invest together in future technology research and development.”

He added that it is important for democracies to “deepen intelligence and operational cooperation on cybersecurity.”

Critics have accused Modi – who was often elected on a divisive Hindu nationalist platform – of using technology to silence opponents.

Ellen Pearson, director of Human Rights Watch Australia, said: “The Modi government has been using technology since coming to power in 2014 to promote domestic rights as part of a growing crackdown on freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. Can be reduced. “

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