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Tulips Worth More Than Crypto, RBI Chief Warns Indians

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das says private cryptocurrency is a threat to macro-economic and financial stability

India hiked interest rates for a fourth straight time on Friday.
Inflation 'remains clouded with uncertainties' from continuing geopolitical tensions and nervous global financial market sentiments, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said. File photo: Reuters.


India’s central bank chief has warned against investing in cryptocurrencies, saying they lack the underlying value of even a tulip – in a reference to a speculative bubble that gripped the Netherlands in the 17th Century.

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das gave his withering assessment of the digital currency craze just days after the Indian government established a taxation framework for cryptocurrencies. 

Advocates who had feared New Delhi might even ban digital currencies took the imposition of a tax as a sign of official acceptance, despite the grave reservations held by Das and the RBI. 

“Private cryptocurrency is a huge threat to macro-economic stability and financial stability… investors should keep this in mind that they are investing at their own risk,” Das said in a news conference following a monetary policy meeting.

“And these cryptocurrencies have no underlying [value] – not even a tulip,” he warned.


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Sometimes referred to as “tulipmania,” the Dutch tulip bulb market bubble in the 1600s became a parable of greed.

Having warned that private cryptocurrencies could undermine the RBI’s ability to maintain financial stability, the central bank has plans to launch its own digital currency sometime next year.

There are an estimated 15 million to 20 million crypto investors in India, with total crypto holdings of around 400 billion Indian rupees ($5.34 billion).

No official data is available on the size of the Indian crypto market.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara



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Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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