NEW DELHI: There is a consensus among nations about the utility and benefit of the blockchain technology and India will actively work on structuring and developing operational framework for primarily blockchainbased cryptocurrency, during its yearlong presidency.
Stating this, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman emphasised that most of the countries want the technology to survive but not be misused.
The benefits of cryptocrurrency can outweigh its negative aspects if it can be brought under a regulatory framework. World over, governments are nervous about anonymity it provides to transactions. This anonymity blocks governments and its agencies efforts to prevent illicit trade, tax evasion and anti-national activity etc.
“If it is a question of platforms, trading on assets which have been created, buying and selling making profits and more importantly in all these are countries in a position to understand the money trade, are we in a position to establish for what purpose it’s being used?” Sitharaman said in her recent press interaction in Washington.
The FM pointed out that in India’s case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has flagged several cases where digital currency was being used for money laundering and trading of assets. It is a universal problem especially for developing world as digital currency or assets are uncharted territory. This concern, she said, has been actually acknowledged by several members of the G20.
“There is an understanding that we need to have some kind of regulation, and that all the countries will have to be truly together on it, no one country is going to be able to singularly handle it,” she said.
India will try to “developing standard operating procedures for that (crypto) will also be part of India’s thing (agenda during G-20 presidency),” at the Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG) of G20, she said.
It was during the 2015 G20 Presidency of Turkey that for the first time an initiative was undertaken to address issues such as e-commerce, challenges faced by small and medium enterprises, skills, cross-border data flow, data privacy, net neutrality, and tax regimes were brought under the G20 agenda. Subsequently, at Hangzhou Summit (China) in 2016, the first formal discussion on digital economy took place and Digital Economy Task Force (DETF) was established. In 2017, the first Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting took place during Germany’s presidency.
As the world grappled with digital revolution, especially to the challenge of a decentralised – unregulated by central banks- digital currency, G20 too launched various forums for knowledge-sharing under Sherpa Trek.
It established G20 Digital Economy Multistakeholder Conference, G20 Toolkit for Measuring Digital Economy (Argentine presidency, (2018), G20 Digital Government Principles, G20 Repository of Digital Policies, and the Common Framework for Measuring Digital Economy (Saudi Arabian presidency, 2019).
In 2021, under Italian presidency, G20 countries came to the realisation that digital economy could play a crucial part in boosting economic recovery. Consequently, present Indonesian presidency has upgraded the DETF to a Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG) with the mandate to work towards implementation of an interconnected, protected, and safe digital technology to develop an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable digital economy.