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Arun Jaitley holds meeting on bitcoin risk

LiveMint logoLiveMint 27-06-2017 PTI

New Delhi: Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday held an inter-ministerial meeting to examine risks related to virtual currencies like bitcoins. Although several issues concerning bitcoins were discussed, no decision was taken, people close to the matter said.

The meeting was attended by IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, NITI Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya, home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, economic affairs secretary Tapan Ray, financial services secretary Anjuly Chib Duggal and other senior officials.

The government has been debating over the issues concerning bitcoins and had last month sought public opinion on allowing virtual currencies. The circulation of virtual currencies has been a cause of concern among central bankers the world over for quite a while now. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) also cautioned the users, holders and traders of virtual currency, including bitcoins.

In March, the finance ministry had constituted an inter-disciplinary committee to take stock of the present status of virtual currencies both in India and globally and suggest measures for dealing with such currencies.

Bitcoins were in news recently after a massive global ransomware attack triggered by the WannaCry virus hit systems in over 100 countries. The cyber criminals demanded a fee of about $300 in crypto-currencies like bitcoin for unlocking affected devices.

Recently, a domestic app-based bitcoin exchange Zebpay said it has five lakh downloads on the Android operating system and was adding more than 2,500 users every day.

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