4 March 2020 will be a ‘day to remember’ for the Indian crypto-community as the country’s top court lifted the long-time ban on the use of banking services for crypto-trading.
Post the RBI ban in 2018, several Indian crypto-exchanges had either shifted overseas or closed their businesses altogether. Now that India has legitimized cryptocurrency trading, many local crypto-firms are back in business. Additionally, notable foreign crypto-exchanges are also planning to step into the Indian crypto-market.
That said, Malta-based firm Binance was the first foreign crypto-exchange to enter the Indian market. Binance acquired India’s crypto-exchange WazirX to serve over 1 billion people in the country. Announced way before the ban was lifted, the acquisition allowed Indians to buy and sell cryptocurrencies with the local fiat currency – Indian rupees (INR).
Singapore-based crypto firm ZPX is also considering the ramping up of operations in India. The latest news is that the global blockchain company, HashCash Consultants, is investing $10 million in the Indian crypto-industry in 2020. The parent company of the U.S-based crypto-exchange PayBito, HashCash has had a history of investing in local crypto and blockchain enterprises all over the world.
The CEO of HashCash Consultants, Raj Chowdhury, commented on the move and stated,
“I would say that it’s better late than never[…] The restoring of cryptocurrency activities has opened up entire geography, for new collaborations and ventures for the global players, forecasting prospects for the crypto industry and the Indian economy at large.”
He went on to add that with the crypto-market recording bullish trends, this decision could not have come at a better time. All that said, the crypto-scene in India is not quite in the clear yet. There is still a pending bill, the ‘Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill‘ from 2019, a bill that the Indian parliament is yet to rule on.
Siddharth Mahajan, a partner at law firm Athena Legal, had also commented on the bill, stating,
“It remains to be seen if the government will rethink the proposed bill in light of the Supreme Court judgment. This regulatory uncertainty in India is probably the biggest concern for the government.”
Additionally, Tanvi Ratna, CEO of Policy 4.0 and an active member working with policymakers in India on blockchain initiatives, analyzed the outcomes from two possible verdicts and what they would mean for the future of cryptocurrencies in India, in a recent Medium post.
She is of the opinion that the Supreme Court verdict might not decidedly reverse the fortunes of cryptocurrency businesses in the country. She wrote,
“That hinges far more on the policy process than the legal one. Despite the RBI circular being rolled back, the ban bill could be passed and activity in the sector stemmed again. The policy process is complex.”