This year has been particularly bad for Indian crypto traders and investors with constant government crackdowns and a shroud of uncertainty about the future of the industry in the county. That may be all about to change as a recent report indicates that regulation and legitimization could be on the way in India.
India’s Year-long Oppression of Crypto
The crackdown culminated with a ban on holding crypto assets as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) spent the best part of 2018 trying to quash them. Banks were banned from dealing with crypto exchanges which made it very difficult to trade them using fiat without turning to OTC platforms. Court cases involving the RBI and local exchanges were postponed and delayed leaving the whole industry in a quandary as to the legality of digital currencies.
According to a recent report however things maybe about to change with a committee meeting resulting in a more lenient outcome for crypto. A senior official who attended the meeting said;
“We have already had two meetings. There is a general consensus that cryptocurrency cannot be dismissed as completely illegal. It needs to be legalised with strong riders. Deliberations are on. We will have more clarity soon,”
The first interdisciplinary committee comprised of various state and banking departments was setup by the Indian government in March 2017. By July they had recommended a total ban on digital currencies but a number of exchanges continued to operate and the public still had an appetite for crypto. The RBI and Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, enforced the harsh stance earlier this year.
A second inter-ministerial committee, led by the Department of Economic Affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, was setup to take another look into crypto asset viability. Some of the ministers on this new panel attended the recent G20 summit in Buenos Aires where crypto regulations, not outright bans, were recommended.
According to the report these ministers are likely to share insights garnered at the global summit and make recommendations based on them for the Indian situation. The next committee meeting is scheduled for January 2019 and observers are optimistic about a turnaround in stance on crypto assets.
“We have also taken inputs from cryptocurrency exchanges and experts and will be examining legal issues with the law ministry. It’s a complicated issue. Once all aspects are decided, then we will have more clarity,” the official added.
If India does loosen its grip and allows regulated crypto trading to flourish, it could open up one of the largest markets on the planet.
Image from Shutterstock