Home Crypto News Is India’s Crypto Industry on the Brink of a Ban or a Boom?

Is India’s Crypto Industry on the Brink of a Ban or a Boom?

22 min read

Rumours of a second wave of efforts to ban cryptocurrency in India emerged late final week in an article that appeared in The Economic Times.

The article, which was entitled “With a law, India plans lasting ban on crypto,” contained data from a “senior government official” who apparently instructed the publication that “a note [presumably on crypto] has been moved (by the finance ministry) for inter-ministerial consultations.”

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In different phrases, the Indian Ministry of Finance reportedly handed a draft cupboard observe with the intention of establishing a authorized framework that might ban cryptocurrencies in India.

The Economic Times’ article claimed that the mysterious observe was written as a response to the Supreme Court Ruling earlier this yr that overturned a ban that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had positioned on banks to stop them from having working relationships with cryptocurrency exchanges.

While the Economic Times’ report didn’t reveal any particular details about what precisely the observe contained, the article additionally claimed that with a purpose to get a ban on the books, the authorities may return to a July 2019 draft legislation that proposed all kinds of cryptocurrency could be banned, and that anybody caught holding them would face a nice and as much as 10 years imprisonment.

CoinDesk reported that the observe did appear analogous to a draft proposal invoice revealed by a authorities panel chaired by former Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, entitled “Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2019”.

Although the report acknowledges blockchain expertise is an “important new and innovative technology,” the report additionally expresses “serious concern” that the use of cryptocurrencies in India appears to be “mushrooming”–which is to say, rising at an unbelievable tempo.

“Reconsidering past bills is likely part of the process of forming clearer regulations.”

However, shortly after the Economic Times’ report was revealed, doubts emerged over how critical the menace of a potential ban truly was.

Indeed, “the news that came out is based on a note, the contents of which are unclear,” mentioned Nischal Shetty, founder and chief government of Indian cryptocurrency trade WazirX. “It’s not clear whether the finance ministry intends to work upon the old draconian crypto bill or whether they plan to work on bringing a new bill.”

Nischal Shetty, founder and CEO of crypto trade WazirX.

Shetty added that even when the observe was a sign that a proposal to ban the use of cryptocurrencies was going to start making its method via India’s legislative system, it may take a while.

“I want to add that if at all it becomes a law, it has to go through the following stages first: 1. Form a committee; 2. Create a draft; 3. Industry consultation; [and] 4. Parliamentary approval,” he mentioned, including that due to this fact, “I don’t think there’s anything to worry about the note as of now.”

Still, there may be some concern that if the authorities would return to its July 2019 draft legislation that originally proposed a ban on cryptocurrencies, the course of may go extra shortly than common.

However, at the identical time, a spokesperson from Indian cryptocurrency trade CoinDCX instructed Finance Magnates that even when the invoice is up for reconsideration, this might be a half of a regular course of occasions that takes place round constructing laws.

“Reconsidering past bills is likely part of the process of forming clearer regulations around cryptocurrencies in India,” the spokesperson mentioned. “Requiring inter-ministerial consultations, as well as possible consultations with the crypto industry, this may just be the first step in developing more clear and defined rules around crypto regulations in India.”

Therefore, CoinDCX additionally believes that there’s “no reason to be alarmed, as there are no indicative signs of crypto being banned in India.”

”Crypto is one of the only a few sectors that’s hiring in the present day” in India

Instead, the consensus amongst crypto trade insiders in India appears to be that the Indian crypto trade isn’t an asset that the Indian authorities can afford to lose–significantly after the unfold of COVID-19.

“The crypto ecosystem and technology evolves quickly,” WazirX’s Nischal Shetty instructed Finance Magnates.

“We’re all well aware of the devastating impact that COVID-19 pandemic has had on our economy. Most industry sectors have laid off lakhs of people, and crypto is one of the very few sectors that is hiring today.”

Therefore, “it’s in India’s best interest to encourage such a fast-growing sector. There are more than 5 million crypto users in India, and I’m confident that our Prime Minister won’t let us down. With the right regulation, governments will be able to ensure AML and other guidelines are effectively followed. A blanket ban is not a solution, and I don’t believe India will go for a sub-optimal solution here.”

CoinDCX has additionally noticed monumental progress in India’s cryptocurrency trade, significantly after the Supreme Court overturned RBI’s ban earlier this yr.

“The Indian crypto market has flourished since the lifting by the Supreme Court of the initial banking restrictions on crypto earlier this year,” CoinDCX instructed Finance Magnates.

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“We have also seen record numbers in trading volumes and user adoption in the months which came after. This unprecedented growth within the Indian cryptocurrency sector was brought about by the new legitimacy that the ruling provided for cryptocurrencies, and is a sign that there is a future for crypto in India.”

Faith in India’s crypto future

However, not everyone seems to be so optimistic.

Ethan Taub, founder of Loanry, instructed Finance Magnates that he believes that a ban is more likely to be put in place: “not only there are a number of corrupt officials in power but there is an unlikely scenario of cryptocurrencies having a number of conversion rates in order to apply to the norm of India’s prices of goods and services,” he mentioned.

Ethan Taub, founder of Loanry.

However, Meher Apuroop, Administrative Manager at crypto asset administration firm Two Prime, instructed Finance Magnates that he believes that some of the key gamers in India’s authorities–along with the inhabitants at giant–are pro-crypto.

“Both the public in general and the current ruling political classes are pro-crypto,” Apuroop instructed Finance Magnates, including a declare that “I can confirm this personally as an advisor to one of the senior members of India’s ruling party, [the] Bharatiya Janata Party, HRH Prakash Gurunath, who is also in the inner circle of Prime Minister Modi and Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah, that Mr. Modi, personally, is in fact, very much a fan of Bitcoin.”

Personal preferences of officers apart, Apuroop additionally instructed Finance Magnates that instituting a full ban is unlikely on account of the logistical challenges that it will current.

“It has been proven to be technically impossible to impose such a complete blanket ban,” he mentioned. For instance, “P2P torrent downloading and porn sites have been officially banned in India for almost a decade, but it hardly put a dent in their usage by way of VPNs and proxies. Similarly, they would never be able to curb crypto.”

Meher Apuroop, administrative Manager at crypto asset administration firm Two Prime

Indeed, “the current legislative class knows that when you put a ban on things deemed useful by the masses, its trade merely moves underground but its usage is never truly stopped, creating an unnecessary burden on law enforcement agencies,” Apuroop defined.

Therefore, Apuroop believes that “it’s better to allow it to happen through mainstream channels.”

Why does the ‘blanket ban’ idea hold reappearing in India?

But if a ban is certainly impossible to occur, why does the difficulty of a full ban on cryptocurrencies in India hold rearing its head in the first place?

WazirX’s Nischal Schetty defined to Finance Magnates that “it stems due to lack of information or understanding around it.”

“[…] This has happened before with Internet, with taxi cab aggregators like Ola or Uber, or with Fintech apps when they were in early stage,” he added. “It’s upon us to educate our decision-makers and masses.”

Additionally, CoinDCX instructed Finance Magnates that “the journey towards a state of well-defined, clear regulations that protects the interests of investors, companies, and the industry at whole is a complex process requiring months, if not years, of carefully considering and deliberating what is best for the nation.”

And this course of of deliberation includes coping with concern and resistance from established techniques: “just as it has come up in many major countries, the old bureaucracy resists things and systems that are new,” Two Prime’s Meher Apuroop defined.
“The banking system they regularly associated with, sees it as a threat to its existence instead of seeing it as a complementary entity.”

However, Apuroop–like CoinDCX and Nischal Shetty–believes that it’ll solely be a matter of time earlier than a wholesome set of laws are in place.

“Eventually they will end up accepting and adjusting the system to it as they did with the advent of the internet, mobile technology, digital banking and governance, app services like Uber and Amazon,” Apuroop instructed Finance Magnates.

Building a wholesome regulatory future for crypto in India

And what may a set of wholesome laws appear to be for India?

It all begins with the legislative course of: “we believe that regulators and the government of India will preserve the same open-minded stance that they had in the Supreme Court case,” CoinDCX instructed Finance Magnates.

“That is an ideal situation for the industry because the key decision-makers in the government were willing to engage with stakeholders and crypto industry leaders in open dialogue about the future of the industry. We are confident that a similarly communicative approach will be taken in making this decision this time round.”

WazirX’s Nischal Shetty additionally instructed Finance Magnates that there are already efforts to create laws for the trade underway, albeit from outdoors the Indian authorities: “the global financial watchdog, FATF has issued guidelines which encourage regulation, and not a crypto ban,” he mentioned.

Additionally, “the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) is working on a code of conduct for cryptocurrency companies in India. This will lay out guidelines for KYC/AML and other regulatory-related features.”

More usually talking, nonetheless, “when it comes to regulating crypto, I’m positive that India will follow the footsteps of developed countries like Japan, USA, UK, Australia, and more which have embraced crypto.”

Since COVID-19 struck, crypto has exploded in India

In the meantime, nonetheless, India’s crypto trade is continuous to develop: “our signups and daily volume have been rapidly increasing since the banking ban was removed,” Nischal mentioned.

“Due to the lockdown in India, people have had more time on hand to read about crypto, and it leads them to WazirX to buy crypto for the first time. India is seeing a lot of new people entering the crypto ecosystem.”

Similarly, CoinDCX instructed Finance Magnates that “despite the Covid-19 pandemic, CoinDCX witnessed a 10x increase in user sign-ups and 47% growth in trading volumes in Q1 alone. National interest and curiosity in cryptocurrencies was at a new high, and the nationwide lockdown induced by the COVID-19 pandemic meant that Indians spent more time at home.”

What are your perceptions on the progress of India’s cryptocurrency trade? Let us know in the feedback beneath.

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