BENGALURU (Reuters) – A push by Group of 20 (G20) president India to regulate cryptocurrencies gained support from both the International Monetary Fund and the United States on Saturday as finance chiefs of the bloc wrap up two-days of talks.
India has said it wants a collective global effort to deal with problems posed by cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, and the finance ministry said it had held a seminar for G20 member states to discuss how to come up with a common framework.
Speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Bengaluru, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said it was “critical” to put in place a strong regulatory framework but added that the United States had not suggested any outright bans.
“We haven’t suggested outright banning of crypto activities, but it is critical to put in place a strong regulatory framework,” Yellen said. “We’re working with other governments.”
Earlier, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told reporters after co-chairing a meeting with Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman that banning crypto should be an option.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has for several years debated drafting a law to regulate or even ban cryptocurrencies but has not made a final decision. The Reserve Bank of India has said that cryptocurrencies should be banned as they are akin to a Ponzi scheme.
On Thursday, the IMF laid out a nine-point action plan for how countries should treat crypto assets, with point number one a plea not to give cryptocurrencies legal tender status.
Such efforts have become a priority for authorities, the fund said, after the collapse of a number of crypto exchanges and assets over the last couple of years, adding that doing nothing was now “untenable”.
(Reporting by Aftab Ahmed, Sarita Chaganti Singh, Shivangi Acharya and Dave Lawder; Writing by Miral Fahmy; Editing by Krishna N. Das)