Fears rise as India’s parliament discusses new cryptocurrency bill
NFTs are on the rise in India, and recent backing by Bollywood celebrities such as Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan seem to have proven how much of a deal it is in the country.
However, the future doesn't seem too bright, as there are concerns that government regulations could dampen the progress of NFTs in the country. This fear stems from a bill that the Indian government passed recently, which aims to ban most private cryptocurrencies.
The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2021 means that India would look to regulate cryptocurrency heavily and allow the country's central bank to launch its official digital currency.
According to the bill, it seeks "To create a facilitative framework for creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India." It also reads, "The bill also seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India; however, it allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses."
NFTs are currently enjoying attention from artists and investors alike, with platforms selling exclusive NFTs which provide a glimpse into the lives of Bollywood stars, along with some of their work.
In an instance, Guardian Link – a leading NFT platform – recently launched actor Amitabh Bachchan's NFT collection, which it later sold for US$9,66,000 (Rs 7.18 crore).
A spokesperson for Guardian Link said about the bill in an interview, "The Indian economy is at the early stage of adopting the cryptocurrency trend, and just like any other revolution in technology space, there will be several stages of evolution involved in the process. As we go along the way, the sector will evolve in the context of government policies and regulations along with private investors and other stakeholders involved in the ecosystem."
"It is, therefore, imperative for the industry to stay objective and evaluate once we have concrete details on the proposed bill. We have full faith in the government to regulate the industry in a way that innovation continues to be the key theme for the sector," the platform's spokesperson added.
Other people also had weighed in with their thoughts on the bill.
Edul Patel, CEO, and Co-founder of Mudrex, a crypto trade exchange, believes NFTs could be shielded from any proposed ban as they need to be classified as an art form.
Another Bollywood actor, Vishal Malhotra, says NFTs could help actors and artists create wealth and connect with their fans.
Malhotra released his first NFT in June this year and is hoping to make them useful for collectors by including add-ons like meet-and-greets, a ticket to his next movie premiere, and various opportunities to interact personally with him.
While India's new cryptocurrency bill is a cause of concern for many, some believe it is a forward step in leading the country to the forefront of blockchain technology.