American billionaire investor Tim Draper has called out the Indian government over its purported plan to ban bitcoin and all forms of cryptocurrency.
Proposed Bitcoin Ban
On July 14, blockchain lawyer Varun Sethi published to Twitter an unofficial draft of a bill circulating the Indian government that would ban the use of cryptocurrency.
What are #community comments ?
— Varun | Blockchain Lawyer (@Blockchainlaw91) July 15, 2019
In addition to prohibiting the use of bitcoin, the bill seeks to impose a 10-year prison sentence on Indian citizens who “mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies.” The bill does allow one caveat for the digital rupee, which is a token issued and backed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Pathetic and Corrupt
In response to the proposed ban, Tim Draper took to Twitter to vent his feelings against the Modi government.
People behaving badly! India's government banned Bitcoin, a currency providing great hope for prosperity in a country that desperately needs it. Shame on India leadership. Pathetic and corrupt. #India #bitcoin
— Tim Draper (@TimDraper) July 17, 2019
Draper, who is known for his massive investments in Baidu, Skype, and Tesla, has become a bitcoin bull over the years, in addition to issuing some of the more far-fetched price predictions.
The American investor has also been an active presence encouraging developing countries to consider the benefits of bitcoin and digital currencies. More recently, he advocated the utility of bitcoin to the Argentine government, a country that has been combating fiat hyperinflation for years.
Others Weigh In
Other high profile individuals have voiced their disapproval over the Indian government considering a bitcoin ban, including Barry Silbert who predicted the decision having the opposite effect on bitcoin adoption.
India ain't messing around. This will, of course, have the opposite of the desired effect on bitcoin awareness and interest in the country https://t.co/S7OehKgNS1
— Barry Silbert (@barrysilbert) June 7, 2019
John McAfee also chimed in with his belief that governments have little control over the use of bitcoin.
India announces it plans to ban all crypto. Banning mosquitos after a rain in the summer would stand a better chance of being enforceable.
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) July 16, 2019
Supporters of the Ban
However, not everyone took kindly to Draper’s harsh criticism of the Modi government. Given the rise in cryptocurrency-related scams over the past two years, some Indian citizens believe banning bitcoin will be a net positive for the country.
It is clear from your tweet you are severely ignorant of #India its economy, it's #Government and most importantly #bitcoin you so passionately push to everyone. It doesn't take a genius to know your massive investment in this Ponzi scheme called crypto. Go convince @POTUS first
— Arun Pudur (@arunpudur) July 17, 2019
India is already prosperous. It has its issues, but which first world country has solved all of their own. I think you give very little credit to the country that invented zero.
We get the wave of bitcoin, but its not our priority right now.
— Rose Garg (@rosegarg9) July 17, 2019
While Draper may be stirring national sentiment related to cryptocurrency, it’s worth noting that the Indian government has yet to impose a ban of any sort. However, given the amount of rhetoric over the last several months and the more recent emergence of the drafted bill, it appears the Modi government is indeed contemplating decisive action against bitcoin and digital currencies.