NEW YORK: According to the United Nations, over seven per cent of India’s population owns digital Currency. UN data said that the use of cryptocurrency rose globally at an unprecedented rate during the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the United Nations Trade and Development Body (UNCTAD), 15 developing countries were included in the list of 20 countries in terms of people holding crypto currencies in 2021.
Ukraine topped the list with 12.7 percent of the population holding crypto currencies. Followed by Russia (11.9 percent), Venezuela (10.3 percent), Singapore (9.4 percent), Kenya (8.5 percent) and the US (8.3 percent). While, in India, 7.3 per cent of the population owned digital currency, who has ranked seventh in the list of top 20 global economies for digital currency ownership as share of population.
UNCTAD says that the use of cryptocurrencies has increased at an unprecedented rate around the world during the Kovid epidemic.
Given the risk of accentuating the digital divide in developing countries, UNCTAD urges authorities to maintain the issuance and distribution of cash.The policy brief titled “The cost of doing too little too late: How cryptocurrencies can undermine domestic resource mobilisation in developing countries” discusses how cryptocurrencies have become a new channel undermining domestic resource mobilisation in developing countries.While cryptocurrencies can facilitate remittances, they may also enable tax evasion and avoidance through illicit flows, just as if to a tax haven where ownership is not easily identifiable.
UNCTAD urged authorities to take actions to curb the expansion of cryptocurrencies in developing countries, including ensuring comprehensive financial regulation of cryptocurrencies through regulating crypto exchanges, digital wallets and decentralised finance, and banning regulated financial institutions from holding cryptocurrencies (including stablecoins) or offering related products to clients.
It also called for restricting advertisements related to cryptocurrencies, as for other high-risk financial assets; providing a safe, reliable and affordable public payment system adapted to the digital era; implementing global tax coordination regarding cryptocurrency tax treatments, regulation and information sharing and redesigning capital controls to take account of the decentralised, borderless and pseudonymous features of cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrency prices reached their all-time high in February 2021, but have since fallen by almost 90 percent.