In another case of centralized banking institutions strong-arming their customers, a group of Indian financial entities has started issuing warning letters to their customers (threatening to close their accounts) if they were found to be involved in the buying/selling of crypto assets.
A Detailed Look At The Matter
The issue was brought to light by an Indian Twitterati by the name of CryptoGirl who stated that some banks had issued the above warnings to their clients claiming that they were doing so as per an earlier order passed by the Reserve Bank of India (India’s central banking authority) which banned citizens from dealing with digital currencies.
In this regard, one of the circulars sent out by the RBI earlier last year read:
“As per RBI vide its circular RBI/2017-18/154 DBR.No.BP.CP 104 /08.13.102/2017-18 dated April 6, 2018, regulator has mandated Banks to close the accounts of customers who had undertaken transactions in virtual currency / Bit coins (sic) any time during the tenure of the account & that Banks shall not deal in Virtual Currencies or provide services for facilitating any person or entity in dealing with or settling virtual currencies. These services include maintaining accounts, registering, trading, settling, clearing, giving loans against virtual tokens, accepting them as collateral, opening accounts of exchanges dealing with them and transfer/receipt of money in accounts relating to purchase / sale of virtual currencies”.
What The Hell Is Going On In India?
According to this latest step taken by some Indian banks, if an individual is found to be linked with cryptocurrencies in any shape or form, he/she faces the risk of their account being permanently banned (within a period of 30 days after the user is notified about their “illegal” activities).
Following the 30 day period, users will no longer be able to access their accounts or even withdraw their money.
While a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of India has clearly stated that the use of crypto-assets is not “illegal” within the nation, the activities that banks such as Kotak Mahindra and ICICI are indulging in seem to be “outright unlawful” (to say the least).
One can only hope that better sense prevails and that the law comes to the rescue of those individuals who choose to spend their hard earned money on altcoins (if they so wish to do so).