From ban to regulation, the regulatory journey of cryptocurrency in India

From banning cryptocurrencies in 2016 to passing a Bill for regulating it—the authorities’s stance on digital property have modified.

The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, is distinctly totally different from the earlier – Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2019. While the older legislation sought to impose a whole ban on all crypto-related actions together with mining, shopping for, holding, promoting, and dealing, the new one, in distinction, will look to make a transparent distinction when it comes to its usually used categorisation as a foreign money.

Currently, there is no such thing as a regulation or any ban on the use of cryptocurrencies in the nation.

The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) order of banning banks from supporting crypto transactions, was reversed by the Supreme Court order of March 2020.

The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, listed for introduction in Parliament’s Winter Session seeks to prohibit all “non-public cryptocurrencies” in India. However, it permits for sure exceptions to promote the underlying know-how of cryptocurrency and its makes use of.

Here we study the regulatory journey of cryptocurrency in India.


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a round in 2013, warning the public towards the use of digital currencies.
(Photo: Reuters)

In 2013, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a round warning the public towards the use of digital currencies. The financial institution warned customers, holders and merchants of digital currencies about the potential monetary, operational, legal, buyer safety and security-related dangers they’re exposing themselves to.

The central financial institution identified that it has been preserving a detailed eye on developments in the digital foreign money world, together with Bitcoins, Litecoins, and different altcoins.

But as banks continued to permit transaction on cryptocurrency exchanges — on February 1, 2017, RBI launched one other round, reiterating its considerations with digital cash. And by the finish of 2017, a warning was issued by RBI and the finance ministry clarifying that digital currencies usually are not a legal tender.

At the identical time, two Public Interest Litigations (PILs) had been filed in the Supreme Court, one asking it to ban shopping for and promoting cryptocurrencies in India, the different asking for them to be regulated. In November, the authorities shaped a committee to research points round digital currencies and suggest actions.

It must be famous that at the moment, there was no ban on cryptocurrencies, and most banks allowed transactions from cryptocurrency exchanges.


In March 2020, the Supreme Court of India lifted the curb on cryptocurrency imposed by the Reserve Bank of India. (Photo: File Image)

In March 2018, Central Board of Digital Tax (CBDT) submitted a draft scheme to the finance ministry for banning digital currencies. A month later, the RBI issued a round that restrained banks and monetary establishments from offering monetary providers to digital foreign money exchanges.

Former RBI deputy governor B.P. Kanungo after which Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairman Sushil Chandra voiced their opinions favouring a ban on cryptocurrencies. Chandra mentioned it creates “a series of black money.” “He additionally talked about that latest search i.e. performed in exchanges coping with digital currencies had revealed that almost all uninformed folks in inside locations are being lured to purchase it.”

On April 6, 2018, RBI points a round asking business and co-operative banks, funds banks, small finance banks, NBFCs and fee system suppliers from: Dealing in digital currencies, or offering providers to all entities which take care of crypto exchanges. Cryptocurrency prices fell, exchanges froze, and withdrawals stopped.

In April 2018, the finance ministry appointed-committee proposed a draft invoice for the regulation of digital currencies however didn’t suggest a ban. However, in February 2019 the committee proposed a recent draft invoice that advisable a blanket ban.

Meanwhile, in March 2020 a big improvement passed off. The Supreme Court of India lifted the curb on cryptocurrency imposed by RBI, which restricted banks and monetary establishments from offering entry to the banking providers to these engaged in transactions in crypto property.

2021(January to October)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday chaired a gathering on the approach ahead for managing the cryptocurrency sector. (PTI/File)

“A high-level Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) constituted beneath the Chairmanship of Secretary (Economic Affairs) to research the points associated to digital currencies and suggest particular actions to be taken in the matter advisable in its report that each one non-public cryptocurrencies, besides any digital currencies issued by the state, will likely be prohibited in India,” Finance Minister Sitharaman mentioned in Rajya Sabha on February 9.

Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur additionally knowledgeable Parliament that the authorities would carry a Bill on cryptocurrencies as the present legal guidelines are insufficient to take care of the points regarding cryptocurrencies.

Further, a report revealed that India will suggest a legislation banning cryptocurrencies, fining anybody buying and selling in the nation and even holding such digital property, a senior authorities official instructed Reuters in a potential blow to hundreds of thousands of buyers piling into the red-hot asset class.

Days after the report surfaced, in an interview on March 5, Sitharaman mentioned she needs to foster innovation in crypto. “We need to make positive that there’s a window obtainable for all types of experiments which could have to happen in the crypto world,” she mentioned throughout an interview on CNBC TV18. “We usually are not closing our minds.”

Further, in November 2021, the Standing Committee on Finance, chaired by BJP member Jayant Sinha, met representatives of crypto exchanges, Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC), amongst others, and got here to the conclusion that cryptocurrencies shouldn’t be banned, however regulated.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to as a assembly on cryptocurrencies with senior officers. The indications are that sturdy regulatory steps will in all probability be taken to take care of the challenge.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India has repeatedly underlined its sturdy view towards cryptocurrencies, saying these pose severe risk to macroeconomic and monetary stability of the nation. It has additionally raised doubts on the quantity of buyers buying and selling on cryptocurrencies and their claimed market worth. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das reiterated his opposition to cryptocurrencies, saying these pose a severe risk to any monetary system since they’re unregulated by central banks.

The RBI introduced its intent to come out with an official digital foreign money in the face of proliferation of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, about which the central financial institution has had many considerations.

Parliamentary Session

The Finance Minister in her earlier reply to the Lok Sabha had additionally mentioned that the authorities doesn’t accumulate knowledge on Bitcoin transactions. (PTI)

Sitharaman Tuesday  termed cryptocurrency as a “dangerous space” whereas talking in the Rajya Sabha. She mentioned that they’re but to take a name on commercials round cryptocurrency. The assertion comes a day after she was quoted as saying in the Lok Sabha that there was no proposal to recognise Bitcoin as a foreign money in the nation..

“This is a dangerous space and never in a whole regulatory framework. No resolution was taken on banning its commercials. Steps are taken to create consciousness by RBI and SEBI. The authorities will quickly introduce a Bill,” Sitharaman mentioned throughout the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha.

The Finance Minister in her earlier reply to the Lok Sabha had additionally mentioned that the authorities doesn’t accumulate knowledge on Bitcoin transactions.

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