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VIDEO1:5901:59'Don't panic,' crypto exchange firm says after India's proposed crypto banSquawk Box Asia

India is set to propose a new cryptocurrency bill in parliament, and investors are trying to make sense of what this might mean for the future of virtual coins in South Asia's largest economy.

Lawmakers may ultimately opt to impose tough regulations on the crypto market instead of an outright ban on private coins, according to a top executive at Zebpay, one of India's largest crypto exchanges.

"My belief is that we will have some kind of coherent regulation, but on the tougher side," said Avinash Shekhar, co-CEO of Zebpay, told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia" on Thursday.

A parliamentary bulletin dated Nov. 23 showed that the government plans to introduce a new bill aimed at regulating digital currencies when Parliament begins its winter session starting Monday.

Through that bill, India is seeking to ban most private cryptocurrencies as well as to establish a framework for creating an official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India. However, it will allow "for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses," the bulletin said.

... the feelers which we are getting from the government is that they're looking for some kind of regulation, strict regulation, but not a complete ban.Avinash ShekharZebpay

The central bank is considering a digital Indian rupee that could reportedly launch a pilot in the second quarter of 2022.

Shekhar told CNBC that in the last eight to nine months, the government's stance on cryptocurrencies changed after officials consulted with various stakeholders including crypto exchange operators.

"There has been lots of positive vibes from the government. We met the finance committee of Parliament around two weeks back," he said. "The message or the feelers which we are getting from the government is that they're looking for some kind of regulation — strict regulation, but not a complete ban."

In March, India was considering a law that would ban cryptocurrencies, fine anyone trading in the country or even holding such digital assets, Reuters reported, citing a senior government official.

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Since then, New Delhi has changed its stance slightly and is now trying to discourage trading in crypto by imposing hefty capital gains and other taxes, according to the news agency.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi this month gave a keynote address at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute's The Sydney Dialogue where he said all democratic nations must work together on crypto to "ensure it does not end up in wrong hands, which can spoil our youth."

When Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was asked by the Hindustan Times if India should have its own cryptocurrency, she reportedly said, "We have to be cautious; but we have to think it through."

Shekhar from Zebpay said officials have been talking about tough regulations because "they want to obviously control this and don't let crypto become a currency, so to say."

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He explained that potential regulations would have to address the needs of India's retail investors — while there is no official data currently available, media reports suggest there are about 15 million to 20 million crypto investors in the country.

"The other side, which is not being talked about too much, is innovation in the technology," Shekhar said, adding that many innovators are still waiting to enter the crypto market.

"With regulation coming in, I think that will be a major area where I think multibillion dollar companies will be created in India," he added.


News Source: CNBC

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Mets offer for Max Scherzer reeks of desperation, but might just work

The New York Mets are reportedly going all in for free agent pitcher Max Scherzer.

Things have been moving quickly in MLB free agency on Sunday, with a potential work stoppage looming past the Nov. 30 deadline. The New York Mets, after losing Noah Syndergaard to the Los Angeles Angels and watching Steven Matz sign with the St. Louis Cardinals, have set their focus on former Washington Nationals starter Max Scherzer.

According to Andy Martino of SNY, the Mets have made an offer to Scherzer, where he would earn over $40 million per year.

Sources: Mets have offered Scherzer more than $40 million per year. Length unknown. Doesn’t mean he’ll sign there; that’s still unclear.

— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) November 29, 2021

Mets reportedly going all in for Max Scherzer

This shows just how motivated Mets owner Steve Cohen is to make arguably the biggest splash of free agency by adding Scherzer to the starting rotation alongside Jacob deGrom. Of course, this is all dependent on Scherzer, as he continues to weigh his options before making a decision.

Cohen tried to build a super starting rotation last offseason when pursuing Trevor Bauer, who went on to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Scherzer started off the season with the Washington Nationals before he was traded to the Dodgers in a blockbuster trade. In 30 starts between both teams in the regular-season, Scherzer recorded a 2.46 ERA, a 0.864 WHIP, 236 strikeouts and 36 walks over 179.1 innings of work.

The Mets fanbase will be waiting with bated breath following this latest report. Kevin Gausman, another reported pitcher of interest for New York, agreed to a five-year, $110 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.

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