Just when India saw investors rushing back into the cryptocurrency trading scene, the country saw yet another setback with respect to regulations. In the latest development, the Indian government is reportedly planning to introduce a new law banning Indian cryptocurrency trading.
According to Bloomberg’s sources familiar with the matter, the bill in question is expected to be discussed soon by the federal cabinet before it is sent to the Parliament.
Disappointing to see India flip flop on crypto, hamstringing a nascent industry which could serve one of the biggest populations of unbanked/underbanked citizens. https://t.co/ffMUIQOnA7
— Brad Garlinghouse (@bgarlinghouse) September 16, 2020
Blockchain, not Bitcoin
This is an often-heard stance across the digital asset space and the Indian government holds a similar sentiment. There is no doubt that the country’s government is a huge proponent of blockchain technology with several pilots and projects launched in favor of fledgling technology. More than half of Indian states have already initiated government-sponsored blockchain-based projects.
India still has a long way to go before it can call itself a hub of blockchain as despite these attempts to lure potential blockchain investments since the innovators in the country have a limited window of experimenting just with private blockchain as opposed to a more flexible global scenario.
At the same time, planning on an outright ban of cryptocurrencies in the country is a major blow to the crypto ecosystem in the country. This news comes after reports of the country’s finance ministry seeking inter-ministerial consultations on a potential ban surfaced earlier in June this year.
Blast from the past
The Reserve Bank of India had previously banned commercial banks from servicing to cryptocurrency traders and exchanges in 2018. This was responded with a lawsuit in the Supreme Court by cryptocurrency exchanges challenging the RBI ban in September 2019. The ban was overturned in the March of the following year bringing a respite for both investors as well as the crypto platforms.
Firms that had previously fled the country amid a lack of regulatory clarity to more crypto-friendly countries were looking to expand their footprint following the development. Soon after, the trading volumes on cryptocurrency exchanges servicing Indian clients also increased substantially.
While the ban materializes, it would not just be a huge traders/investors and existing cryptocurrency platforms, but it would also pose as a major hindrance to big companies seeking for the foray Indian market, and the country could potentially lose out on a lot of employment opportunities as other Asian countries have taken the route of regulating the space instead of outlawing them.
Existing cryptocurrency exchanges, on the other hand, is likely to register their companies abroad to skirt adverse legislation in India and not to forget the crypto assets worth thousands of millions owned by the people in the country that would have to be disposed off if the bill becomes a reality.