Global action needed to regulate evolving tech like cryptocurrencies: Sitharaman

Global action needed to regulate evolving tech like cryptocurrencies: Sitharaman
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman   |  Photo Credit: Reuters
3 Dec, 2021

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has called for collective global action to regulate constantly evolving technologies including cryptocurrencies, which keep presenting challenges to countries the world over.  

Speaking at the Infinity Forum event organised for deliberations on fintech, the finance minister said movement of technology is constant which necessitates a wider mechanism that converges with global practices. 

“Even as we are thinking about (these issues) at a national level, there should simultaneously be a global mechanism through which we are constantly monitoring the movement of technology, so that whether it is your cryptocurrency, whether it is tech-driven payment system, data privacy, whether it is ensuring that data is used ethically...,” the finance minister said.   

Her comments come against the backdrop of the government preparing to introduce legislation to regulate cryptocurrencies. A bill to regulate cryptocurrencies is listed for introduction in the current winter session of Parliament.  

Also Read: Sebi to regulate cryptos as assets, no ban on the horizon 

“There needs to be collective effort to monitor movement of technology and devise regulations. With technology driven systems, you will need to be on top of it. Some kind of mechanism of independent regulators can do with technology that is evolving," Sitharaman said.   

Earlier, the finance minister said digital revolution in India has helped expand the scope of financial inclusion and reducing poverty.   

“Technology has helped us achieve what we did not do in decades earlier. It has helped spread of financial inclusion and taken government schemes to all the beneficiaries,” she said.  It is here, she added, that fintech industry has helped provide the necessary backbone required for achieving the social norms of empowering the poor.  

According to the finance minister, India has 1.29 billion Aadhaar identification numbers, about 1 billion Indians are connected to the net, and 700 million through their phones. Also, there are about 600 million smart phone users. So, technology revolution is for real in India and is helping in achieving the goals of financial inclusion, Sitharaman underscored.  

Replying to a question on how regulation keeps pace with technology amid discussion on cryptocurrency in India, she said since these are evolving areas, and there is no clear pointed answer.