The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. 

Bitcoin ban in India rumours labelled ‘pathetic and corrupt’ as potential hoax heaps pressure on price slide

An unverified document circulating on social media adds to cryptocurrency market collapse

Anthony Cuthbertson
Wednesday 17 July 2019 14:05 BST
What is cryptocurrency and the technology behind bitcoin and its rivals?

Bitcoin’s spectacular downward price slide has been pushed yet further by an entirely unconfirmed report that the cryptocurrency could be banned in India.

What is claimed to be a leaked proposal for a bitcoin ban in India was labelled "pathetic and corrupt" by billionaire investor Tim Draper, who is a prominent bitcoin advocate. He was responding to reports of draft legislation that would allegedly impose a blanket ban on all cryptocurrencies in the country.

"People behaving badly!" Mr Draper tweeted. "India's government banned bitcoin, a currency providing great hope for prosperity in a country that desperately needs it. Shame on India leadership. Pathetic and corrupt."

His comments were triggered by an unverified document circulating on social media after it was posted by blockchain lawyer Varun Sethi.

The document states: "No person shall mine, generate, hold, sell, deal in, issue, transfer, dispose of or use cryptocurrency in the territory of India."

The document, which was first spotted by CoinTelegraph, makes one exception for this rule in the form of something called a "Digital Rupee".

Other figures within the cryptocurrency community suggested that enforcing such a ban on a decentralised entity like bitcoin would be nearly impossible.

"Banning mosquitos after a rain in the summer would stand a better chance of being enforceable," said John McAfee.

Whether or not a ban is ever implemented in India, the mere suggestion of it appears to have added to mounting downward pressure on the cryptocurrency market.

The price of bitcoin has plummeted over the last 24 hours, losing nearly 15 per cent of its value and wiping more than $10 billion from its market cap.

Other major cryptocurrencies to have suffered significant losses include ethereum and litecoin, which have both fallen by between 10 and 15 per cent since Tuesday.

A document that appears to be draft legislation for a ban on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in India has been circulating on social media
A document that appears to be draft legislation for a ban on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in India has been circulating on social media (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Mr Draper has previously hailed bitcoin for its potential to replace mainstream forms of currency, calling it earlier this year "one of the greatest technological advances that humanity has ever seen".

The investor, who holds a significant share of bitcoin, recently stood by a claim made in 2018 that the cryptocurrency will reach $250,000 by 2023.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in