A survey conducted by the Income Tax Department has revealed that there are six lakh active traders of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin in nine digital currency exchanges across India, while 25 lakh people are registered to trade, The Indian Express reported on Thursday. Most of the traders are between 25-35 years old, the department said.

The I-T Department’s Bengaluru unit carried out the survey to gather information about the investors and traders, their bank accounts, and the transactions that take place in these exchanges. The unit has proposed that the tax authority should view cryptocurrencies held for long periods of time by investors as capital assets and the digital currencies of frequent traders as business income.

“The wealth in cryptocurrency is notional unless the currency is liquidated,” the daily quoted an unidentified official as saying. “We have not been able to find the amount that has been liquidated and this exercise is still on. It is a difficult task since there is no trail available of the liquidation.”

Banning digital currency trading

Meanwhile, South Korea on Thursday announced a plan to ban trading in digital currency, and raided local cryptocurrency exchanges that it suspects is evading tax, Reuters reported. This sent the prices of bitcoin, which at present has a market cap of $283 billion (Rs 18.03 lakh crore) crashing.

“There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and Justice Ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges,” South Korean Justice Minister Park Sang-Ki said.

Bitcoin and other digital currencies lost about 10% of their value on Thursday, BBC reported. However, it is hard to say how much of that was due to the events in South Korea as wild price fluctuations are the norm in digital currency trading.