IT dept conducts surveys at Bitcoin exchanges across India

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Indian Income Tax department has conducted a survey of all the Bitcoin exchanges operating in the country.

Similar visits were conducted in Bitcoin exchanges in Ghaziabad, Pune, Gurugram, Hyderabad and Kochi with the help of the Income Tax Departments in the respective states under Sec 133A of the Income Tax Act for gathering evidence for establishing the identity of investors and traders, transactions undertaken, identity of counterparties, related bank accounts used, among others.

It is, however, extremely hard, rather impossible to get details of individual or institution using/trading through Bitcoin, as it is not regulated and the principles behind Bitcoin is not to disclose the identity of the person holding it. Bitcoin hit another all-time peak on Tuesday, two days after the launch of the first ever bitcoin futures on a USA exchange as investors grew optimistic that the $20,000-mark is within reach.

Sources told DNA, "We are collecting the name of investors and their transaction details".

According to the survey teams, these officials are armed with financial data of these exchanges.

The CEO of Coinome, an Indian exchange, said at the time of the central bank warning: "If India had to ban virtual currencies then they would have done that by now".

'The tax official declined to comment on the central bank's concerns, saying the tax department was looking only into the tax implications, ' the report added. RBI has also warned that the onus of the risk associated with investing in cryptos lies exclusively with the individual, as RBI is no way is responsible for the outcome until it decides to grant licenses of cryptocurrency operation.

In March this year, the government had said that use of virtual currencies like Bitcoins is not authorised by RBI and could result in breach of anti-money laundering provisions.

Last month in November 2017, the Supreme Court of India issued a notice to the central bank to work with the finance ministry and create a regulatory framework for cryptocurrency operations in the country.

As things stand, no license or authorisation has been granted to any cryptocurrency-related outfit, because the government does not recognise it as legal currency.

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