India may use crypto technology for services like metro cards and airline tickets

India’s government may allow customers to pay for metro cards and airline tickets with crypto tokens, despite the existing ban on decentralised cryptocurrencies in the country.

DNA India reports that the government is considering the launch of crypto tokens to be used for various transactions, including in the public sector.

A senior official from India’s finance ministry said: “The commitee is examining if crypto tokens can be used to replace smart cards such as metro cards in the public sector to start with. Similarly, in the private sector, it can be used in loyalty programs such as air miles where its use is limited to buying the next ticket and can’t be converted into money.”

The key difference between this proposal and others is that the tokens, though blockchain-based, would not form a currency of their own but rather represent existing money.

DEA secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, who is also leading the committee, added: “The committee is studying the possibility of using cryptocurrencies or the crypto technology (distributed ledger technology) for financial transactions and also what kind of regulations are needed for that.

“[While] the currency is totally banned, the committee is discussing its other usage and how it can be mainstreamed in India.”

The move is particularly surprising given the Reserve Bank of India’s withdrawal of support for cryptocurrency businesses last month. The country in general has taken a negative view on crypto, but this new committee may mark a turning point.