July 12, 2018 by Ramaa Mohan
After one week into the play of India’s central bank’s notice to all banks and companies dealing with cryptocurrencies, an anonymous source close to the government has suggested that the government is not looking at a blanket ban on the market and just may stay and subsequently scrap the RBI mandate, dated 6th of April.
The government official, who wished to remain anonymous, is part of the panel that is discussing the future of the market in the country. He said that, though the RBI mandate has been successfully enforced as of last week, it is very unlikely for that the government will push for a complete blanket ban of the market.
The Reserve Bank of India, on the eve of 6th of April, released a decree giving notice to all banks and companies registered with them to suspend all cryptocurrency accounts and dealings within a span of three months. The deadline for this particular decree expired on the 6th of July.
The basic idea of the ban was to make sure that it wasn’t possible for people to buy cryptocurrencies directly from their bank accounts, thereby isolating the Indian economy from the cryptocurrency market.
As soon as the decree was announced and it made the rounds in media circles, it triggered a large number of lawsuits against the central bank, criticizing the lack of research and premise of the decision. The lawsuits are still in trial and the fact that they still are did not coerce the Supreme Court of India to issue a stay on the ban.
Along with the series of lawsuits, there was also a Right To Information application that was filed by a cryptocurrency enthusiast in the country to find out what the actual premise of the decision was, that led to the Reserve Bank of India calling for such a blatant ban. The response to the RTI went on to prove that there had actually been no research or said the reason for the ban.
Despite the loud hue and cry of the cryptocurrency community of the country, the ban came into effect on the 6th of July. Making it harder for the participants to buy and convert to any cryptocurrency using the Indian legal tender, the Indian Rupee (INR).
But as reported by Quartz, the statement made by the senior government official who is part of the cryptocurrency panel comes as a reprieve to the community in India. The government official contradicted the narrative being propagated by Indian media and said,
“Trade is not a criminal offence. Most of us trade in various asset classes in the stock market. So how is this [cryptocurrency trading] any different? What has to be in place is a mechanism to be sure that the money used is not illegal money, and to track its source is the most important thing.”
He went on to say that, “Allowing it as a commodity may let us better regulate trade and so that is being looked at.”
This, as of now, is music to the ears of the entire cryptocurrency community in India. But what will be done to solidify these statements in terms of actions still remains to be seen.