India plans to ban Elon Musk from ever entering the country, putting a dent on India’s hopes of joining the pioneers in the space race.
According to a senior government official, Elon Musk would be fined for ‘criminal possession,’ but the official declined to say whether he would be but in jail as well as get fines.
That’s unless Elon Musk liquidates certain assets within six months, in particular his dogecoins and bitcoins.
“The bill would give holders of cryptocurrencies up to six months to liquidate, after which penalties will be levied, said the official, who asked not to be named as the contents of the bill are not public.
Officials are confident of getting the bill enacted into law as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government holds a comfortable majority in parliament,” says Reuters.
According to this ‘official,’ India plans to criminalise possession, issuance, mining, trading and transferring of bitcoin, dogecoin, ethereum, and other cryptos.
Elon Musk, alongside numerous pension funds, hedge funds, prominent techies – including the founder of twitter – numerous politicians and an estimated at least 100 million people globally, would thus instantly become criminals in India, an ostensible democracy.
That would go a long way towards tarnishing the reputation of India among business circles, as by this act it would become more authoritarian than even China.
However, unlike this official source who doesn’t dare put his name to his words presumably because the remarks are ridiculous, on the record officials have been a lot more measured as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said this month:
“I can only give you this clue that we are not closing our minds, we are looking at ways in which experiments can happen in the digital world and cryptocurrency,” she told CNBC-TV18. “There will be a very calibrated position taken.”
In addition Anurag Thakur, India’s Minister of State for Finance, said “I firmly believe that we must always evaluate, explore and encourage new ideas with an open mind.”
There’s thus clearly a battle going on in India with this bill proposed by old bankers after the Supreme Court quashed a diktat by India’s central bank that effectively banned bitcoin.
Since then cryptos have been booming in India, but taking advantage of their weak democracy, the bankers are seemingly trying again to this time get parliament itself to criminalize digital gold.
Although this ‘source’ is confident the bill would pass, it isn’t clear at all that democracy would so easily fall in India where Modi may well be making the same mistake as Trump in going against his base.
The bill however has not been published and there has not been an official decision to propose it, with these rumors through anon sources going on for months.
Yet that India is even thinking of banning Elon Musk is a very unfortunate sign of just how much the country has fallen and a reminder that nationalism is not good for business or innovation.