India and China are often close to war, but they apparently agree on at least one thing: Private cryptocurrencies are bad.
The Indian government said Tuesday that in a new bill to be considered in the winter session of Parliament, it planned to forbid trading of most crypto. The winter legislative session begins this month.
The government will permit only selected cryptocurrencies to promote the underlying technology, Reuters reports.
The bill would also create a framework for the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India in December. The central bank, too, has expressed "serious concerns" about private cryptocurrencies, Reuters notes.
China, perhaps India’s biggest enemy, banned private cryptocurrencies in September, but also has plans for its own official digital currency.
The India news didn’t affect bitcoin much Tuesday. It recently traded at $57,276, little changed. It has slumped 17% since hitting a record $68,790 on Nov. 9.
While the digital currency has skyrocketed in its 12 years of existence, the pattern has been very jagged, with huge drops along the way.
Bitcoin advocates have been clamoring for some time that the digital asset represents a hedge against inflation. But given that inflation was quiescent until this year and that bitcoin has shown so much volatility, it’s difficult to judge that in a definitive way.
What’s clear now is that bitcoin is a speculative vehicle. Whether it turns into something more than that is anyone’s guess. Its unstable value has kept it from being used much as payment for legitimate goods and services.