Indian Prime Minister Warns Bitcoin Could Spoil Youth

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  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has once again left the crypto world bemused, arguing that Bitcoin could spoil youth.
  • Modi said that “democratic nations should work together on cryptocurrency to ensure it does not end up in the wrong hands.”
  • The remarks prompted a backlash from the crypto community.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has once again left the crypto world bemused, arguing that Bitcoin could spoil youth.

During a virtual keynote at the Sydney Dialogue, Modi said that “democratic nations should work together on cryptocurrency to ensure it does not end up in the wrong hands.” His PR team, believing that the statement was so poignant it was worth repeating, tweeted:

Take cryptocurrency or bitcoin for example. It is important that all democratic nations work together on this and ensure it does not end up in [the] wrong hands, which can spoil our youth.

The conference, titled “We are in a time of transformation,” was hosted by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, and saw Modi highlight the impact of the Digital Age that “occurs just once in a generation, where technology and data are becoming new weapons.”

As part of his speech, Modi discussed digital assets in the context of financial terrorism and money laundering. Ostensibly, the Indian PM believes a strong regulatory framework is required to address all the potential drawbacks of this emerging industry.

“We are at a historic moment of choice. Either all the wonderful powers of technology of our age will be instruments of cooperation or conflict, coercion or choice, domination or development,” Modi said, adding that the world is in a new era of opportunities. However, he also underscored the new forms of risks and threats.

Crypto Community Bites Back

Modi’s statement that Bitcoin could end up residing in the wrong hands prompted a backlash from the crypto community, who view the flagship cryptocurrency, and other digital assets, as a way to sidestep controlling governments like China and India.

“When he says “in the wrong hands”, “cooperation or conflict”.. these phrases are no good to crypto, he just want control,” a Twitter user noted, alleging that Modi also hopes to gain “control” over cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum run on a blockchain, a digital distributed, decentralized, and public ledger that allows for unparalleled transparency. There are also no central powers in crypto, with the largest stakeholders being big mining pools and whales, which still don’t account for a large share of the market. Another Twitter user said:

My interpretation was “wrong hands” are the hands of everyday people, and “spoil our youth” to mean break the current financial system and ruin the power hungry centralized control.

Meanwhile, the new comments come at a time when India is preparing for a CBDC pilot. As per local media, India’s digital rupee may see its pilot launch in the first quarter of the next fiscal year. “I think somewhere it was said that at least by the first quarter of next year a pilot could be launched. So we are bullish on that,” the local media quoted an official.

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