Indian Legislators Divided Into Pro And Anti Cryptocurrency Camps
In April 2019, the draft of the ‘Banning of Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies Bill 2019’ sent shock waves in the entire crypto community of India. Media reports suggest that holding, selling or dealing in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin could entail 10 years in jail.
An RTI query filed revealed that the Reserve Bank of India had not issued any such circular. It also had not received any communication from the government with regard to such a draft. “No official announcement has been made yet and such a draft will take time to become law, especially if it is not a policy priority for the new government,” said Anirudh Rastogi, managing partner at law firm Ikigai.
The Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) has been public about their anti crypto stance, stating:
“When it comes to investor protection, the IEPFA has to take a stand against certain things … We think that cryptocurrency is a Ponzi scheme and it should be banned. It was unanimously decided in the meeting that the Department of Revenue and Department of Economic Affairs may immediately take steps to completely ban sale, purchase, and issuance of all forms and types of cryptocurrencies. In the meeting, it was discussed that it has features of a Ponzi scheme.”
However, not all government bodies of India are anti-crypto like the IEPFA. Recently there was Blockchain Summit India where crypto regulations were discussed. Numerous government bodies like the Department of Science and Technology, the State Government of Uttar Pradesh, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Law and Justice, the Ministry of Human Resources Development, and the Department of Information Technology were also present.
Their website said:
“The summit is targeted towards enabling Indian government and ministries to speed up the process of developing a ﬂourished blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem.”
To the relief of Indian crypto supporters, now even RBI is distancing themselves from their proposed ban.
This confused regulatory environment has Facebook doubting their Libra launch in India. Facebook has not filed any application with RBI (Reserve Bank of India) for its cryptocurrency in India.