Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has taken a strong stance against Bitcoin and other crypto assets, saying they cannot be considered real money.

Nirmala Sitharaman said that cryptocurrencies are primarily used for trading, speculation and profit making. Digital assets do not function like traditional currencies issued by central banks, so they thrive only through market manipulation.

The official claims that the lack of regulation of cryptocurrencies has a negative impact on international payments and settlements. It will also encourage illegal activities, be it drug trafficking or terrorism.

Sitharaman noted that cryptocurrencies are still not regulated in India, and this issue has already been raised at the G20 forum. The Minister considers it important that the G20 member countries create a unified international regulatory framework for regulating cryptocurrencies, which will help cope with their risks.

“If one country regulates cryptocurrencies and another does not, it will be easier for criminals to use cryptocurrencies to illegally move money and commit crimes. Therefore, we need to create a unified structure and bring it to the G20 level,” Sitharaman warned.

In India, cryptocurrencies do not have legal tender status, and the country does not regulate cryptocurrency activities. At the same time, the Indian government supports blockchain technology. Earlier, the authorities of India and the UAE signed an economic partnership agreement on the development of blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI).