As the government of India slowly moves more and more against Cryptocurrencies as a whole, an unexpected problem popped up for the city of Pune’s police department. They found themselves unable to transfer over 85 million rupees ($1.2 million) back into the State Bank of India’s treasury branch within the city.
Pune’s cyber police department had ceased a substantial amount of funds when they shut down a Ponzi scheme utilizing the Bitcoin format last year. This Ponzi scheme had accrued a total of 244 Bitcoin units in total, and the Pune Police Department wanted to put it back into the treasury.
The Pune Police had hired a tech firm by the name of Discidium Internet Labs Private Limited. With Discidium’s help, they planned on converting said bitcoin back into Rupees, then giving it back to their branch of the State Bank. This was eventually forcibly stopped as the Indian Reserve Bank when they froze Discidium’s account, situated at the Central Bank of India’s Worli branch.
Pune’s Cyber Police Department’s Senior Inspecter, Jairam Paygude, has released a statement expressing this information. The RBI prohibits dealings in virtual currencies, and they did not make a handy exception for situations like this.
Ujjwala Pawar, the district government pleader, explained that the police are going to make a formal request to the RBI to unfreeze the account.
The RBI itself had released a statement explaining that they had done no such thing. They expanded by denying that they told the Central Bank of India to do something similar.
India: First Large Democracy to Ban Crypto
India’s stance on cryptocurrencies as a whole would be easily summed up in the word “Hostile.” At the moment of writing, there is a bill in the works of being passed that would sentence anyone having dealings with cryptocurrency within the country to ten long years in prison.
The draft is, rather aptly, named the Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Currency Bill 2019. This bill would see anyone who generates, mines, holds, sells, disposes of, transfers, deals, or issue cryptocurrency in any way, shape, or form. This is a genuinely troubling move for the country, as cryptocurrencies are considered by many to be the future.
While the bill isn’t in effect yet, it’s causing a scare and subsequent brain drain of the country. Many crypto-based companies are now forced to move their businesses to other countries, fearing criminal persecution.
With the RBI freezing crypto assets as it’s transferred back into the country, one can’t help but wonder how this bill will look after it has passed. Preferably, this bill won’t pass, and India will have access to a $10 trillion industry.
Crypto is changing the way people see the world’s money, for better or worse.