Technology

India’s Supreme Court Orders Government to Define Policy on Crypto Within Two Weeks

Ricardo Esteves | October 26, 2018 | 8:00 pm
Technology

India’s Supreme Court Orders Government to Define Policy on Crypto Within Two Weeks

Ricardo Esteves | October 26, 2018 | 8:00 pm

The Indian Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Government to share its view on cryptocurrency within two weeks.

The court is addressing the multitude of petitions filed by digital currency operators against the central bank’s anti-crypto circular.

India is Two Weeks Away from Ending Policy Confusion over Crypto As Supreme Court Demands Clarification

The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) circular released on April 6 has resulted in a legal battle between the cryptocurrency ecosystem and the government.

The document prohibited the banking system from servicing companies involved in the cryptocurrency market. The RBI also discourages the use of digital assets despite the inexistence of any ban on trade or exchange at present.

Nakul Dewan, counsel for nine cryptocurrency exchanges, told the Economic Times that the circular successfully atrophied the digital currency market in the country, virtually stopping all trade and exchange of Bitcoins even though there is no official ban on it.

Dewan wants the government to give some finality to the issue, which has lingered since May. “We have got employees. There are jobs,” Dewan said.

The matter is essentially a policy decision for the government to make, RBI counsel Shyam Divan admitted to the court. The central bank was only trying to discourage the use of cryptocurrencies, he said.

Taking Divan’s comment into account, the court presided by justices RF Nariman and Naveen Sinha ordered the government to clarify the court on its position within two weeks.

While the government of India pursues the launch of its very own cryptocurrency, the fight between the RBI and cryptocurrency exchanges heated up throughout the year. In September, the central bank claimed that the Courts couldn’t recognize cryptocurrency as a currency due to existing laws.

Ever since the April circular, there have been contradictory actions and statements taken by various government organizations.

India’s main regulatory authority, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has reportedly sent teams to multiple countries in order to gain a better understanding of how to regulate cryptocurrencies.

panel set up by the finance ministry is also studying the matter and regulating a seemingly healthy debate on whether digital assets should be considered as commodities or currency.

In the meantime, the Indian police arrested Unocoin co-founder Harish BV for operating a Bitcoin ATM kiosk, which law enforcement deemed illegal. Consistent with the conflict between the RBI and crypto operators, co-founder Sathvik Viswanath said cryptocurrencies are not legal tender, but not illegal tender either.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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