India Discusses Crypto Regulation; Could Legalise In 2019
In the first major revelation from the Indian government regarding the cryptocurrency market, it appears that there is an inter-ministerial committee that is discussing the possible future of the cryptocurrency market in the country.
Giving the Indian cryptocurrency community a great deal of good news, according to a report by the Indian Express earlier this week, the so-called cryptocurrency committee has already met twice and is shortly submitting a report with suggestions to the RBI and the Government.
According to the news report published on Indian Express, they quoted a source saying;
“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 committee is expected to send over a report with suggested changes and amendments to enable the integration of the cryptocurrency market into the Indian financial scene.
Not the First Committee
This recent cryptocurrency committee that is claiming to discuss the future of the cryptocurrency market is not the first one to be formed in the country. In fact, the blanket ban that was imposed by the RBI in April 2017, was an action taken on the basis of a report produced by a similar committee.
The committee responsible for the crypto-ban took less than a month to come to that conclusion and the RBI later admitted that the blanket ban that they had imposed was a little hasty and premature.
But these statements were made well after the circular was being challenged in court. There were multiple court cases filed and one of them went right up to the Supreme Court of India in the form of public interest litigation (PIL). The verdict, however, is still yet to come.
The Blanket Ban
The blanket ban that was imposed on the cryptocurrency market last year, demanded all businesses, banks and enterprises to withdraw support from the cryptocurrency market in a span of 3 months. And those who failed to do so, would no longer be considered as a registered company under the RBI guidelines.
Because of which, all banks, payment gateways and other financial shoulders that the cryptocurrency market functioned pulled back. Making it a lot harder for the Indian cryptocurrency market to function and thereby harder for the community to continue holding on to their crypto assets.
One of the worst reactions to the cryptocurrency ban that the RBI imposed on the cryptocurrency market was that most Indian exchanges and blockchain businesses that had ties to the cryptocurrency market left the country in search of more favourable regulations.
The biggest blow that the Indian cryptocurrency community got was when Zebpay pulled out of the Indian market. Zebpay was one of the most used exchanges in the country. Zebpay later went on to move headquarters overseas, to Malta and now serves the European Union, UK, USA, etc.
Industry Advice Taken
The saving grace of the committee that was recently formed by the Indian government in order to find a place for the cryptocurrency market in the country, is that people from the industry were consulted this time.
When a similar committee had adjourned last year, they did not take into account the impact it would have on the industry nor the community. Because nobody from the market was consulted.
But there is hope this time that the committee will find in favour of the cryptocurrency community of India. The committee is supposed to submit a report to the government and RBI next month. And based on their recommendations regulations are supposed to be framed for the same.