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As one of the most populous countries in the world, India unsurprisingly has one of the world’s largest economies. This is why it is especially unfortunate that a country such as this remains one of the most unstable when it comes to cryptocurrencies.
Earlier today, an Economic Times report took account of the sentiment towards the proposed blanket ban on crypto assets that are expected to come from the government any day now.
Dubbed the “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019,” this regulation proposes a decade-long prison sentence for anyone who is found relating with cryptocurrencies in any way. Given the severity of these penalties, many crypto holders and businesses in the country have begun to take action in a bid to protect themselves and keep their livelihoods afloat.
The news medium spoke to Rahul Jain, a worker at former domestic crypto exchange Bitbns. Jain clarified that this proposed bill would make it difficult (if not borderline impossible) for crypto startups to operate in India. Thus, sensing a need to survive, the exchange moved and set up shop somewhere.
“So, we are now an Estonia-based company, and any Indian law to criminalize crypto will not impact us,” Jain said.
However, the implications of the ban could have consequences reaching beyond just the mass exodus of businesses (although this, in itself, is no small effect). Nischal Shetty, the founder, and chief executive of popular Indian exchange WazirX, revealed to the Economic Times that over 5 million Indians own crypto assets worth thousands of crores.
According to Shetty, the decision of the government to outlaw crypto assets completely could potentially destabilize existing businesses, thus impacting the economy of India as well. Besides these, India now risks becoming the “first large democracy to ban an innovative technology such as crypto.”
The truth about this ban is that not everyone agrees concerning how it will become law. However, what everyone seems to be on the page about is the fact that it is in no way a benefit t the Indian people, or her economy.
At this point, it is highly unlikely that the views of these people will change the mind of the Narendra Modi administration concerning what to do with crypto assets. The India government seems determined to see this ban through, as the Reserve Bank stopped providing services to individuals and businesses dealing in cryptocurrencies since April.
It is also worth pointing out at this time that Indian might be ground zero for what many perceive to be the long-term effects of cryptocurrencies and criminal activities. When the Reserve Bank announced its detachment from the crypto space, it pointed out, amongst other things, the propensity of the assets to be tied to criminal activities.
Other reasons, such as intrinsic value, consumer protection, and market integrity, could always be argued out by crypto enthusiasts. However, a government as hell-bent on banning cryptocurrencies only needs a single reason to do so. Criminal activities is that reason, and there’s no arguing it out.
There is an argument for the fact that India will stand to lose quite a lot from this ban. However, if the criminal applications of cryptocurrencies had been curtailed in the first place, then we would most likely not be in this situation.