India Crypto Enthusiasts Protest in the Streets
It has been almost a decade since the Central Bank of India has issued any bans on cryptocurrencies preventing its members from offering their services to companies in the crypto space. Recently, this has changed in India. In recent years there have been at least two crypto exchanges that have gone out of business as a result of declining transactions and basic accounts. This caused the Indian government to step in to try to regulate cryptocurrencies with legislation over two years ago. The public hasn’t been pleased with the repeated delays in legislation by the Indian Supreme Court. Consequently, citizens have begun street protests in cities like Delhi and Mumbai.
Since this debate began unfolding in India over two years ago, government officials have attempted to wrap their minds around the crypto technology while removing fear from multiple government agencies that could be created in the new world of crypto. It has been four months since government agencies restarted debates and to this day, it hasn’t produced a report. Until a consensus has been met and official legislation is enacted, the Reserve Bank of India has a countrywide ban on cryptocurrencies.
The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of India has postponed any potential legislation for 9 months, even though courtroom battles have resumed. Frustration amongst Indians reached another level when the court revealed the delay has no potential of being uplifted until July 23rd. This is happens to fall on a Tuesday, a date infamous in the Indian Supreme Court for a day that revolves around lengthy arguments and no resolutions. Thousands of crypto and blockchain enthusiasts who are stakeholders in the crypto space have taken to the streets, making their anger known to the courts.
Akshay Aggarwal, a Blockchain India co-founder observed the protect and commented saying, “ The street demonstrations are occurring mainly because the whole crypto space represents a world different than we currently live in, a more efficient one, a more evolved one. One that is so different, that none of us can figure out if it would directly make a more positive impact than the negative. On top of it, we don’t understand it completely, especially its multi-fold effects, and we always fear what we don’t understand.”
Before traders, investors and crypto-enthusiasts retaliating to the Supreme Court, optimism for the crypto space was high in India. One insider in the discussions made a note that there have already been two meetings and that the consensus amongst government officials is that cryptocurrency simply cannot be seen as illegal, that a resolution has to be found promptly.
The same government insider went on to say, “The country is, in fact, close to finalising the deal on it and is assessing the options regarding its security, anti-laundering, consumer protection, and tax concerns. The Supreme Court has granted the government four weeks to reach a conclusion and the final opportunity about the unrest that has been created by the cryptocurrencies existence in the Indian financial domain.”
Indian’s Fearful of Regulators
The citizens of India, however, even with the good news that a deal is going to be finalised soon, are fearful of what is to come. Citizens, investors and traders believe that there will be numerous regulators that will focus energies on preventing the country becoming increasingly technologically advanced.
A recent poll conducted by the company Statista showed that 83% of Indians access blockchain or cryptocurrency platforms on mobile-based applications. In every way, the citizens of India are embracing new technologies. However, legislation might not revolve around mobile regulation and instead the only desktop. This could change how investors and traders use blockchain/cryptocurrencies dramatically.
Mohammed Danish, a Legal Practitioner and Advisor for Crypto Kanoon in Delhi commented on the upcoming legal proceedings, saying “The Supreme Court’s four-week opportunity came in the wake of the Ministry of Finance’s assurance that they were close to submitting the regulatory framework. The ball is now entirely in the government’s court – if they fail to take any policy decision on crypto during this while, the court will hear the case on merits and pass its judgment.”