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Cryptocurrency could be used for financing terror, money laundering: Finance minister


Amidst the pioneering fintech revolution, the biggest risk of cryptocurrency could be money laundering and its use for financing terror, said Union Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday (local time).

In her address at a seminar during the ongoing spring meet of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Sitharaman said: “I think the biggest risk for all countries across the board will be the money laundering aspect and also the aspect of currency being used for financing terror.”

“I think regulation using technology is the only answer. Regulation using technology will have to be so adept, that it has to be not behind the curve, but be sure that it is on the top of it. And that’s not possible. If any one country thinks that it can handle it. It has to be across the board,” the Minister said.

The Union Minister reached Washington today morning on an official visit to attend the Spring Meetings at the World Bank, the G20 Finance Ministers meeting and the Central Bank Governor Meeting (FMCBG).

During the first day of the visit, Finance Minister participated in a high-level panel discussion on “Money at a Crossroad” hosted by Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, IMF.

“We are at the crossroads around how fast, how far, and in what proportion, but I see this as a one way street in which Digital Money is going to play a bigger role,” the IMF chief said in her opening remarks.

Sitharaman highlighted India’s performance in the digital world and the government’s efforts to build the digital infrastructure framework over the last decade, stressing the increase of the digital adoption rate in India during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If I use 2019 data, the digital adoption rate in India is about 85 per cent. But globally that same year it was only somewhere near 64 per cent. So the pandemic time actually helped us to test and prove for ourselves that it is simple to use, common people can use it, and adoption actually was proven,” Sitharaman asserted.

Apart from her official engagements with the World Bank, IMF, G20, and Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Sitharaman on Monday also attended an event at the Atlantic Council, a think tank based in Washington DC.

The visit will also include several bilateral interactions, including with Indonesia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and South Africa as well as a high-level meeting with World Bank President David Malpass, a Ministry of Finance statement said.

Notably, once the meetings conclude in Washington, Sitharaman will head to San Francisco on April 24, where she will engage with business leaders and will also interact with the faculty and students at Stanford University. She will depart for India on April 27.


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