Bitcoin Illegal: Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority

Bitcoin Ilegal: Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (المملكة العربية السعودية) regulators issued a statement this week through its monetary authority. Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are illegal in the country. Citing “negative consequences” and “high risk,” the government believes it must protect subjects from themselves.  

Also read: Report: 15,000 Twitter Crypto Scam Giveaway Bots

Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority Pronounces Bitcoin Illegal

Dated 8 August 2018, مؤسسة النقد العربي السعودي, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) began, “The standing committee warns against trading in the digital currencies or what is known as virtual currency for their negative consequences and high risks on traders as they are out of government supervision.”

Bitcoin Ilegal: Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority

SAMA functions as the kingdom’s central bank. It issues the Riyal, oversees banks and foreign exchanges, and the traditional aspects of price and exchange rate stability, crediting itself with ensuring the growth and soundness of the domestic financial system.

“The committee assured that virtual currency including,” SAMA continued, “for example, but not limited to, the Bitcoins are illegal in the kingdom and no parties or individuals are licensed for such practices. The committee warns all citizens and residents about drifting after such illusion and get-rich scheme due to the high regulatory, security and market risks involved, not to mention signing of fictitious contracts and the transfer of funds to unknown recipients/entities/parties.”

Saudi Royals Do Crypto, Sometimes

Popularly, the Kingdom is said to be in something of a modernizing period. Its ascended Crown Prince, First Deputy Prime Minister under King Salman, Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who will turn a tender 33 years old in a manner of days, is known as a reformer of sorts. As one of the youngest monarchical office holders in the world, he is particularly lauded for making strides in his country for women.

Bitcoin Ilegal: Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority
Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Women, under his dictates, are slowly being reintroduced into society as drivers, singers, and sporting enthusiasts. His view on cryptocurrency isn’t well known. Fall of last year, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal called bitcoin a “fraud” on American television (he would later run into his own legal problems involving fraud), but that is the closest Royal Family pronouncements have come with regard to crypto, until now.  

Perhaps another hint comes from a more conciliatory side of SAMA, and its reported usage of Ripple settlement tech or its effort at building a state-backed regional cryptocurrency in conjunction with United Arab Emirates. Whatever the ultimate case, cryptos without state backing, such as bitcoin, are illegal for now.

Will Saudi Arabia eventually given in on bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below. 


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Huobi Informs Users on Decision to Launch P2P Trading in India

Huobi Informs Users on Decision to Launch P2P Trading in India

Following several announcements of plans for global expansion, this week crypto exchange Huobi has reportedly informed Indian users of its intentions to present them with a P2P platform that allows trading in Indian rupee. The email notice published by local media promises zero transaction fees for exchanging BTC, ETH, and USDT.

Also read: 3 Million Brits Invested in Crypto via Exchanges, Few Sought Advice

Reports: Huobi to Launch P2P Platform for Indians

Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi has announced in an email to Indian users its decision to offer peer-to-peer trading services in their country, local crypto media reported. The notice states that they will be entitled to zero transaction fees for trades in bitcoin core (BTC), ethereum (ETH), and tether (USDT). Users will be able to buy and sell these cryptocurrencies with support for transactions in Indian rupees (INR), according to a copy of the correspondence published by Crypto News, India.

The exchange says that “[…] we do think it’s time that we provide a solution of buying/selling digital assets with INR for all Indian users: Huobi OTC – a proprietary peer-to-peer (P2P) platform that allow[s] users and merchants to trade digital assets with your local currencies.” The crypto company also notes that “every registered Indian user of Huobi can log in to https://otc.huobi.com to trade digital assets with INR.” Customers are also advised to transfer to Huobi Global if they want to trade more cryptocurrencies with high liquidity.

Huobi Informs Users on Decision to Launch P2P Trading in India

The announcement was made after Huobi recently sent a questionnaire to its Indian users. In another email, the exchange also invited them to become “Global Merchants”. The message read, “After becoming a global merchant of Huobi OTC, you will be entitled to: post-fiat-to-token advertisements to gain more earnings during “Buy & Sell” processes; enjoy zero transaction fee and obtain 24/7 customer support.”

The launch of the Indian P2P platform has yet to be officially announced by Huobi with a release expected on its social media channels. However, the authenticity of the emailed message has been confirmed already by a spokesperson reached by Crypto News: “For OTC supports INR currency. Yes. It’s legit,” the representative is quoted as saying.

Peer-To-Peer Trading Expands After Ban, Before Regulation

Huobi’s announcement comes in difficult times for the Indian crypto community. In recent months, Indian companies and individuals working with cryptocurrencies had to deal with a bank crackdown that followed a ban imposed by the Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank. The measure came into force on July 5, after the Supreme Court upheld it in a hearing on July 3, when it did not grant a stay before the compliance deadline, and then in another one on the 20th, when it did not overturn the ban. The final hearing on the matter was scheduled for September 11.

In April, the RBI ordered regulated financial institutions to quit providing services to entities and citizens dealing in cryptocurrency. The restrictions have since forced Indian crypto exchanges to suspend fiat transactions and offer crypto-to-crypto trading options. Comprehensive regulatory guidelines are expected in September, as news.Bitcoin.com reported earlier this week. A draft has been prepared already and consultations are underway to finalize the framework.

Huobi Informs Users on Decision to Launch P2P Trading in India

Until the important decisions are made this fall, P2P platforms are offering a viable option for Indian traders who want to exchange cryptos with rupees. Cryptocurrency exchanges, Koinex and Wazirx, are already offering peer-to-peer trading services.

If Huobi fulfills its promise to Indian users, the launch of its P2P platform will become the latest in a series of moves aimed at expanding its global reach. Huobi’s plans include Europe, Asia, America, and Australia. In June, the Singapore-based exchange confirmed its intentions to open an office in London. In early July, the third largest crypto trading platform launched a platform in Australia with 10 pairs against the AUD. Huobi is also eyeing opportunities in Toronto, San Francisco, and São Paulo.

Do you trade cryptocurrencies on P2P exchanges? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


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Indian Government-Appointed Commission Recognizes Crypto as Means of Payment

Indian Government-Appointed Commission Recognizes Crypto as Means of Payment

The law commission established by the order of the Indian government has issued a report recognizing cryptocurrency as a means of payment. This is reportedly the first time that a body appointed by the government admitted cryptocurrencies have value and can be used in transactions.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Government-Appointed Body Recognizes Crypto

Indian Government-Appointed Commission Recognizes Crypto as Means of PaymentThe Law Commission of India recently published a report on the legal framework for gambling and sports betting in India. The 140-page report explains that gambling is defined as the act of “wagering or betting on games of chance but does not include betting or wagering on games of skill.” Wagering and betting are subsequently defined as “the staking of money or virtual currency [VC], whether or not it is equivalent to a recognized currency.”

The commission was established by the order of the Indian government to advise them on legal reforms. It was asked by the country’s supreme court in July 2016 to examine if betting should be legalized in India.

According to the report:

The issue of online gambling has further been worsened by the rise in popularity and ease of availability of VC, a form of electronic money.

Indian Government-Appointed Commission Recognizes Crypto as Means of PaymentThe commission noted that gambling with cryptocurrencies “pushes even the online gambling market underground, and very often, out of the reach of the law enforcement authorities.”

While proposing that “stringent law(s) should be put in place to control foreign direct investment and at the same time, to prevent money laundering, while also implementing necessary tax reforms,” the commission wrote in the report’s conclusions and recommendations section:

Similar restrictions should also be prescribed for the purpose of the amount one would be allowed to stake while using electronic money facilities of the likes of credit cards, debit cards, net-banking, VCs, etc.

The report additionally states that “gambling transactions should be made cashless, making use of electronic means of payment such as credit cards, debit cards, net-banking, virtual currencies (VC – also known as cryptocurrency), etc.”

Implication of the Law Commission’s Report

Indian Government-Appointed Commission Recognizes Crypto as Means of PaymentThe report also cites the April 6 circular issued by the Indian central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), banning banks from providing services to crypto businesses.

Last week, the Indian supreme court heard some petitions relating to crypto regulation and the RBI ban. While the crypto community was hopeful that the court would hear all the petitions and perhaps even grant a temporary stay on the RBI ban, the court reportedly did not hear all the cases and proceeded to set the final hearing date to September 11, allowing time for RBI and other regulators involved to respond to the petition.

Commenting on the law commission’s proposal, Nischal Shetty, CEO of crypto exchange Wazirx, told Quartz:

It is the first time that a body appointed by the government has given recognition to virtual currencies that they have value and can be used for a transaction … Therefore, it is a very positive sign, especially considering the report has come out after a lot of deliberation.

Tuhina Joshi, an associate at legal firm TRA Law which represents several crypto exchanges, was quoted by the publication, “the law commission recommends that regulating gambling is preferable to an outright ban. This is the same argument we are making in context of cryptocurrencies.”

What do you think of the law commission’s proposal? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Vietnamese Regulator Tells Firms and Funds to Stay Away From Crypto

Vietnamese Regulator Tells Firms and Funds to Stay Away From Crypto

Vietnam’s securities watchdog has required local businesses not to engage in transactions with cryptocurrencies. The announcement follows a directive issued by the country’s prime minister earlier this year aimed at tightening what Vietnamese regulators call the management of crypto activities.

Also read: China Releases Ranking of 31 Crypto Projects

Securities Watchdog Asks Companies to Obey AML Rules

The State Securities Commission of Vietnam (SSC) has required relevant companies and funds not to engage in any issuance, transaction or brokerage activities related to cryptocurrencies. The measure, referred to by local media as a ban, affects public companies, securities companies, fund management firms and securities investment funds. They have also been asked to obey anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.

Vietnamese Regulator Tells Firms and Funds to Stay Away From Crypto

According to the SSC, the announcement is based on Directive No 10/CT-TTg signed on April 11 by Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Viet Nam News reported. The document puts an emphasis on strengthening the management of activities related to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The outlet also notes that the use of digital currencies is prohibited in Vietnam.

Not the First Anti-Crypto Measure

This is not the first administrative measure aimed at curbing crypto activities in the country. In April, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) banned commercial banks, payment services providers and intermediaries from making transactions involving cryptocurrencies. The central bank also issued a warning stating that such activities may increase the risks of money laundering, terrorism financing, trade fraud and tax evasion.

Vietnamese Regulator Tells Firms and Funds to Stay Away From CryptoLast October, the SBV declared that cryptos do not represent a “lawful means of payment” in the Asian country. Its proposals in that respect, which were submitted to the government in Hanoi, included a ban on the issuance, distribution, and use of cryptocurrencies as well as criminal prosecution and fines for their users.

Recently, citing the familiar argument – the need to improve the management of cryptocurrencies in Vietnam – the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the SBV reached an agreement to suspend the import of crypto mining equipment. The proposal came from the Finance Ministry in June, as news.Bitcoin.com reported.

Fraud and Scam in Vietnam

Vietnamese Regulator Tells Firms and Funds to Stay Away From CryptoIn the past couple of years, the Vietnamese mining sector has been growing rapidly leading to a significant increase in the number of imported mining rigs. Digital coin minting, however, has caused concern in Hanoi. In May, close to 150 Vietnamese government agencies, financial institutions and businesses took part in a large cyber-security drill aimed at preventing the spread of mining malware.

Crypto-related fraud has played a role in shaping the current attitude of Vietnamese authorities and regulators towards the crypto space. The country recently had to deal with one of the largest scams in crypto history in which more than 30,000 people were defrauded into investing in the Ifan and Pincoin currencies.

What are your expectations for the future of cryptocurrencies in Vietnam? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Indian Crypto Regulation Ready by September: Official

Indian Crypto Regulation Ready by September: Official

The Indian government is expected to issue detailed cryptocurrency guidelines by September, a senior official from the country’s Ministry of Finance reportedly said. Consultations with all stakeholders including the central bank have already begun. This announcement is independent of the supreme court’s hearing of petitions relating to crypto regulation in India.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Regulation Expected by September

The Indian government has reportedly finished drafting the regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. The New Indian Express wrote on Saturday that the government is “likely to issue guidelines on cryptocurrency by September.”

Indian Crypto Regulation Ready by September: Official
Subhash Garg.

This news follows the statement last month by the country’s Economic Affairs Secretary, Subhash Garg, confirming that the draft law would be ready by mid-July.

Citing that stakeholders include the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), an unnamed senior official from the Ministry of Finance told the news outlet:

The draft is ready and consultation is on with all the stakeholders…before coming up with the final paper. We expect it to be ready by September.

“The ministry has constituted an interdisciplinary committee under the chairmanship of Special Secretary (Economic Affairs) to examine the regulatory framework regarding virtual currency,” the publication detailed. “SEBI and RBI have expressed some reservations regarding clauses in the initial draft.”

How Should Crypto be Regulated?

The unnamed senior official was quoted by the New Indian Express, “Cryptocurrency is a new phenomenon and naturally, governments across the globe are struggling with it.” He further detailed, “Most of the officials have serious reservations against it, which all of us agree with … we want to arrive at a common conclusion. There must be an appropriate mechanism to regulate the same.”

Indian Crypto Regulation Ready by September: Official

While the regulators have not confirmed how cryptocurrency will be regulated, Quartz reported that a senior government official familiar with the matter indicated it could be regulated as a commodity. “I don’t think anyone is really thinking of banning it (cryptocurrencies) altogether. The issue here is about regulating the trade and we need to know where the money is coming from. Allowing it as (a) commodity may let us better regulate trade and so that is being looked at,” the publication quoted him saying on July 11.

He explained that cryptocurrency “trade is not a criminal offence,” describing:

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.

Supreme Court Hearing Also in September

Indian Crypto Regulation Ready by September: OfficialThe Supreme Court of India on July 20 set the final hearing date for all petitions relating to cryptocurrency regulations to September 11. The hearing is in response to the circular issued by RBI on April 6 banning banks and all financial institutions under its control from providing services to crypto companies.

Many industry participants have petitioned against the ban. The IAMAI successfully convinced the supreme court to hear its petition on July 3. However, the court did not grant a stay and the ban went into effect on July 5. Banks subsequently closed the accounts of most crypto exchanges.

Judgement Day

The supreme court was supposed to hear all of the petitions relating to crypto on July 20. However, since some government bodies such as SEBI have not provided a response, the news outlet noted:

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra acceded to the request made by the petitioners and the matter has been listed for final disposal on September 11.

At the hearing on Friday, the IAMAI was represented by Advocate Gopal Subramanium while Advocate Shyam Divan appeared for RBI. Divan “informed the court that allowing dealings in cryptocurrencies will encourage illegal transactions,” the publication conveyed, adding that he clarified the central bank’s policy is of “extreme caution.”

How do you think India will regulate cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Over 500 BTC Belonging to Iranians Seized by US Government: Report

Over 500 BTC Belonging to Iranians Seized by US Government: Report

According to the head of Iran’s Blockchain Association, over 500 BTC belonging to Iranians were confiscated by the U.S. government last year, and the number is still rising. He explains that Iranians are unable to take action through proper channels from within their country due to Iran’s legal status of cryptocurrency.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Iranians’ 500 BTC Seized by US Government

Sepehr Mohammadi, the president of Iran’s Blockchain Association, told Ibena news outlet last week:

Last year, a remarkable volume of bitcoins which belonged to some Iranians were confiscated for unspecific reasons by the federal government of the United States, and the process of confiscation is still continuing.

Over 500 BTC Belonging to Iranians Seized by US Government: ReportHe admitted that the exact number of confiscated BTC “is not clear, but it is expected to be over 500 bitcoins, worth approximately 25 billion tomans ($5.77 million)” at the time, the publication quoted him.

“Some people believe that this confiscation is because bitcoin owners were circumventing U.S. sanctions,” Mohammadi added.

Over 500 BTC Belonging to Iranians Seized by US Government: ReportRecently, news.Bitcoin.com reported that the government of Iran is considering using cryptocurrencies to evade long-held U.S. economic sanctions. Mohammad Reza Pour-Ebrahimi, the chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s Economic Commission, said in an interview with Mizan news agency on July 15 that digital currencies are among the major mechanisms that Iran can use to the evade the sanctions. He noted that the Iranian parliament will soon discuss this issue.

Legal Challenge

Mohammadi further explained to Ibena the challenges Iranian citizens face to recover their cryptocurrencies:

The owners of confiscated bitcoins are unable to take legal action against the U.S. inside Iran as cryptocurrencies are banned in the country. The association is looking to take international legal action, but they have not yet found a legal expert in anti-money laundering law who will handle the case.

Over 500 BTC Belonging to Iranians Seized by US Government: Report
Central Bank of Iran.

In April, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) banned banks and financial institutions in the country from dealing with cryptocurrencies. The CBI claimed that “All cryptocurrencies have the capacity to be turned into a means for money laundering and financing terrorism and in general can be turned into a means for transferring criminals’ money.”

Nonetheless, Pour-Ebrahimi told Ibena in May that even though “few people in Iran are cryptocurrency users,” according to his data, “more than 2.5 billion dollars has been sent out of the country for buying digital currencies.”

What do you think of the US government seizing Iranians’ BTC? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Indian Central Bank Makes a Case Before Supreme Court Against Allowing Crypto Use

Indian Central Bank Makes a Case Before Supreme Court Against Allowing Crypto Use

India’s central bank told the country’s supreme court on Friday that “allowing dealings in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin would encourage illegal transactions.” Other crypto petitions being heard include one asking the government to “take emergency steps to restrain the sale and purchase of illegal cryptocurrencies.”

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

RBI’s Argument

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank, appeared before the supreme court Friday to defend its position regarding cryptocurrencies. RBI issued a circular on April 6 banning financial institutions under its control from providing services to crypto companies.

According to the Economic Times, the central bank told the court:

Allowing dealings in cryptocurrencies like bitcoins would encourage illegal transactions and it has already issued a circular prohibiting use of these virtual currencies.

Indian Central Bank Makes a Case Before Supreme Court Against Allowing Crypto UseRBI explained that crypto is “a stateless digital currency” that operates independently of a central bank such as itself, thereby “rendering it immune from government interference,” the news outlet noted.

The Financial Express elaborated that the central bank believes “it is necessary to regulate the bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to check illegal transactions which will impact the international flow of funds.” Senior counsel Shyam Divan, appearing for RBI, reiterated that the central bank has a particular stance and other departments may have other positions.

Petitions Being Heard

Petitions against the RBI crypto banking ban are not the only ones that the supreme court is hearing. The Economic Times described:

Some petitions challenged the use of virtual currencies and alleged that they posed grave dangers to the traditional economy and they also sought framing of guidelines to regulate them … They also sought a direction for the Centre to take emergency steps to restrain the sale and purchase of illegal cryptocurrencies.

Indian Central Bank Makes a Case Before Supreme Court Against Allowing Crypto UseThe Hindu pointed to one particular petition, filed by father and son Siddharth Dalmia and Vijay Pal Dalmia. “Mr. Dalmia, in his plea, has sought a direction to the Centre to take steps to restrain sale and purchase of illegal cryptocurrencies like bitcoins, which were being traded openly for ‘illegal activities’ like funding terrorism and insurgency,” the publication wrote.

The supreme court already heard the duo’s initial petition in November last year and subsequently issued notices to various government departments including RBI. The central bank responded at the time that it had warned people against the usage and risks associated with crypto. However, the Dalmias were not happy with RBI’s reply and filed a new petition, pointing out the inadequate action by the central bank.

At the hearing on Friday, the supreme court gave the government until September 11 to respond to all petitions.

What do you think of RBI’s view and action? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Indian Supreme Court Heard Crypto Petitions Today but RBI Ban Stays

Indian Supreme Court Heard Crypto Petitions Today But RBI Ban Stays

India’s Supreme Court heard the petitions against the crypto banking ban by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today. After hearing some arguments from both sides, the court decided to set another hearing date, allowing some of the regulators involved to respond to the petitions.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Supreme Court Hearing on July 20

Indian Supreme Court Heard Crypto Petitions Today But RBI Ban StaysThe long-awaited hearing at which the Supreme Court of India was scheduled to address all of the petitions against the crypto banking ban by the country’s central bank has finally taken place.

Today’s hearing follows the hearing on July 3 of the petition by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). The court did not grant a stay against the ban at that time. Last week, the central bank responded to a representation by the association but did not change its stance on crypto.

The latest chapter of the courtroom saga did not see an overturn of the ban. The court also did not hear all arguments by both sides. Crypto Kanoon, a platform engaged in crypto regulatory analysis, legal awareness and news, detailed:

Limited arguments were advanced on behalf of IAMAI and RBI today.

Another Hearing Date Set

Indian Supreme Court Heard Crypto Petitions Today But RBI Ban StaysThere are at least five writ petitions filed against the RBI ban. However, according to Crypto Kanoon, “SEBI [the Securities and Exchange Board of India] and few others have not filed their response to the petition seeking regulation…All (remaining) parties to file their reply within 4 weeks.”

Sohail Merchant, CEO of crypto exchange Pocketbits, commented on the outcome of today’s hearing:

Final hearing [is] slated for 11th of September. Now that is the Judgement Day.

According to lawyers familiar with the case, the central bank has been challenged on two grounds. They concern article 19(1) (g) and article 14 of the Indian constitution. The former “allows citizens to enjoy the right to carry on any occupation, trade, or business,” Quartz explained, adding that the latter “prohibits discrimination and mandates equal protection under the law for all.”

P2P Services Live

In response to the RBI banking ban, a number of crypto exchanges in the country have set up peer-to-peer (P2P) services.

Indian Supreme Court Heard Crypto Petitions Today But RBI Ban StaysKoinex launched its P2P platform called Loop on July 17. “Loop is a peer-to-peer fiat to crypto trading platform where registered users can trade in cryptos with other registered users in INR,” the exchange described.

“To ensure user safety, a built-in escrow system is employed which releases the cryptocurrency only after the seller double confirms the exact payment of the trade.” According to its website, the service currently offers the buying and selling of BTC, ETH, and XRP without network or transaction fees.

Last week, Wazirx launched its P2P service, also without network or transaction fees. The exchange recently claimed to have 125,000 users on its main platform after operating for four months. Meanwhile, Coindelta is also preparing to launch a P2P service called Flux.

What do you think of the Supreme Court hearing today? Do you think RBI’s ban will eventually be lifted? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Indian Central Bank Justifies Its Crypto Stance – Outlines Key Areas of Concern

Indian Central Bank Justifies Its Crypto Stance - Outlines Key Areas of Concern

The Reserve Bank of India has justified its crypto banking ban to an industry group which has been trying to convince the central bank to ease crypto restrictions. In response, the central bank outlines key areas of concern and upholds its stance on crypto.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

RBI’s Main Concerns

Indian Central Bank Justifies Its Crypto Stance - Outlines Key Areas of ConcernIndia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has divulged key areas of concern regarding cryptocurrency. The communication is in response to a representation submitted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). The document was sent to the central bank during the Supreme Court hearing of IAMAI’s petition against the crypto banking ban.

While RBI’s response cannot be made public, some industry participants have seen it and have discussed its content.

A source who has seen the document told news.Bitcoin.com that RBI told IAMAI it is particularly concerned about investor protection, cryptocurrencies’ lack of intrinsic value, and their anonymity, which could lead to money laundering.

Investor Protection

Indian Central Bank Justifies Its Crypto Stance - Outlines Key Areas of ConcernSohail Merchant, CEO of crypto exchange Pocketbits, commented on RBI’s response, stating that “all the basis of their arguments is ‘Investor Protection’.”

Nischal Shetty, CEO of crypto exchange Wazirx, concurred. “Some of the arguments seem to be around investor protection,” he noted, adding that “but investor protection comes with regulation and not a ban!”

Other crypto exchanges also agree that a ban is not the way to protect investors. Praveen Kumar, CEO of crypto exchange Belfrics, was quoted by Quartz:

By limiting transactions via bank accounts and allowing more cash-related transactions, RBI is allowing more people to get duped…Instead, they need to regulate the exchanges and lay down guidelines that can help prevent these frauds.

In addition, the source shared with news.Bitcoin.com that, “exchanges have been hacked globally and that worries them.”

There has been a rise in crypto-related scams in India. Even BJP party leaders have been accused of being involved in a bitcoin scam. Recently, the Indian state of Maharashtra announced that it is setting up a special investigative unit to investigate all crypto-related cases.

No Intrinsic Value

Indian Central Bank Justifies Its Crypto Stance - Outlines Key Areas of ConcernThe central bank is also concerned that “cryptos have no intrinsic value,” the source added.

RBI’s view reiterates the statement issued by the country’s finance ministry in December last year. Aimed at warning people of the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies, claiming that they are “like Ponzi schemes,” the statement reads:

VCs [virtual currencies] don’t have any intrinsic value and are not backed by any kind of assets. The price of bitcoin and other VCs therefore is entirely a matter of mere speculation resulting in spurt and volatility in their prices. There is a real and heightened risk of investment bubble of the type seen in ponzi schemes….

Anonymity of Crypto

The third major factor of concern for RBI is the “anonymity of crypto leading to money laundering,” the source noted.

However, exchanges argue that strict adherence to know-your-customer (KYC) norms would prevent money laundering, Quartz elaborated and quoted them clarifying, “all transactions are usually carried out via bank account transfers to keep a tab on the money trail.”

India is also not the only country concerned about the anonymity of crypto. Japan, where cryptocurrency is a legal means of payment, is another. The country’s top financial regulator has reportedly been pressuring exchanges such as Coincheck, which was hacked in January, to drop privacy coins.

What do you think of RBI’s concerns? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Indian Crypto Exchanges Forge Ahead With Solutions to RBI Ban

Indian Crypto Exchanges Forge Ahead With Solutions to RBI Ban

Indian cryptocurrency exchanges are forging ahead with their solutions to the crypto banking ban imposed by the country’s central bank. A growing number of exchanges have stopped fiat support as they ramp up peer-to-peer and crypto-to-crypto trading.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

RBI Ban in Effect

Indian Crypto Exchanges Forge Ahead With Solutions to RBI BanThe crypto banking ban by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) went into effect at the end of last week. The central bank issued a circular three months ago, banning all financial institutions under its control from providing services to companies dealing in cryptocurrencies. The industry was hopeful that the Supreme Court would grant a stay on the ban on July 3 but the court did not and the RBI ban subsequently went into effect.

Wazirx announced on July 4, “We’ve discontinued INR deposits with immediate effect,” adding:

Our banking partner has abruptly stopped supporting our bank account. This is due to the recent RBI circular banning banks from providing support to cryptocurrency exchanges.

Indian Crypto Exchanges Forge Ahead With Solutions to RBI BanKoinex announced on July 7 that users can “submit INR withdrawal requests till 02.00 PM on July 9, 2018 (Monday) after which no further INR withdrawal requests will be accepted.”

Buyucoin announced last week that “Deposit and Withdrawal will be halted until further notice due to RBI circular by midnight 5th of July’18.”

Three of the first crypto exchanges to announce a suspension of fiat deposits and withdrawals were Zebpay, Pexo, and Coinome, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported. Another major exchange, Unocoin, has yet to announce that it has stopped fiat support at press time.

P2P Trading

Amid RBI’s ban, Indian crypto exchanges have been ramping up their solutions to continue business after the ban. Among them is P2P trading, where the exchange acts as an escrow service between two customers for each fiat to crypto trade.

Indian Crypto Exchanges Forge Ahead With Solutions to RBI BanWazirx has been preparing to launch a P2P trading service. The exchange announced on July 8, “WazirX P2P is launching in a few days.”

Koinex is also gearing up to launch its P2P service called Loop. Citing that “the INR/crypto trading corridor may be discontinued over the next few days with prior notice,” the exchange revealed on July 7, “after that, users will be able to trade via Koinex Loop and True USD corridors for fiat stability.” The exchange elaborated:

Loop is a peer-to-peer transaction network for digital assets using fiat currency. Koinex users will automatically find their KYC-verified Loop accounts ready upon release. Loop is in the final stages of development and will be released before July 15, 2018.

Crypto-to-Crypto Trading

Indian Crypto Exchanges Forge Ahead With Solutions to RBI BanMeanwhile, a number of exchanges have ramped up crypto-to-crypto trading services, similar to Binance and Poloniex.

Unocoin recently launched its crypto-to-crypto platform, Unodax. On July 4, the exchange announced more trading pairs for the platform. It now offers 9 BTC trading pairs, 4 ETH trading pairs, and 4 XRP trading pairs. Unocoin emphasized:

Unodax, India’s leading blockchain and cryptoasset company is introducing 17 crypto-to-crypto trading pairs.

Indian Crypto Exchanges Forge Ahead With Solutions to RBI Ban

Zebpay also offers 19 cryptocurrencies and over 35 trading pairs on its platform now that it has dropped fiat support.

What do you think of RBI’s ban and crypto exchanges’ solutions? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Bitcoin Trading in Chinese Currency Drops Below 1% of World Total

Bitcoin Trading in Chinese Currency Drops Below 1% of World Total

Bitcoin trading in renminbi (RMB) has dropped to less than 1 percent of the global total, the central bank of China announced. The People’s Republic banned yuan-crypto trade last year, prompting the exodus of hundreds of Chinese crypto businesses, including some of the world’s leading trading platforms.    

Also read: Crypto Exchange Binance Expects up to $1 Billion Profit in 2018

‘Zero-Risk’ Exit for 88 Exchanges, the People’s Bank Says

The trading of Bitcoin with the Chinese national currency, the renminbi (RMB), has fallen to less than 1 percent of the world’s total, the People’s Bank of China (PBC) announced this Friday, quoted by Xinhua. At its peak, the RMB/BTC trade reached more than 90 percent of the volume, the state-controlled news agency noted in its report without detailing the data.

In September, 2017, Beijing authorities imposed a ban on the trading of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin with the Chinese yuan, referring to the presumed financial risk associated with the rapidly expanding crypto market. The measure also prohibited Chinese businesses from conducting crowdfunding campaigns through Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

Bitcoin Trading in Chinese Currency Drops Below 1% of World Total

In its announcement, The People’s Bank of China said the country had ensured a “zero-risk exit for 88 virtual currency exchanges and 85 ICO trading platforms,” since last year. Xinhua also quoted a “blockchain analyst” saying that “The timely moves by regulators effectively fended off the impact of sharp ups and downs in virtual currency prices and led the global regulatory trend.” The opinion belongs to Zhang Yifeng from the Zhongchao Credit Card Industry Development Company.

In February this year, reports came out in Hong Kong that advertisements of products and services offered by companies from the crypto industry no longer appear in China’s major search engines and social networks. The absence of sponsored crypto content prompted local media to allege that the ban also censors all crypto-related ads.

Chinese Platforms Expanding Across the Globe

PRC regulators imposed a comprehensive ban on bitcoin trading in September, 2017, when they ordered local exchanges to suspend their operations. The authorities in the People’s Republic also tried to block access to foreign cryptocurrency trading platforms offering services to Chinese residents. The restrictions encompassed the crypto-yuan trade hitting some of the world’s largest trading platforms.

The ban forced exchanges with Chinese roots, like Huobi, OK Coin, and Binance, to halt all trading in the country and seek to relocate to more favorable jurisdictions. The trading platforms founded new entities and opened offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and the United States, which allowed them to continue their activities and even grow significantly.

Bitcoin Trading in Chinese Currency Drops Below 1% of World Total

Huobi, once one of the largest Chinese cryptocurrency exchanges, is now headquartered in Singapore and maintains presence in Hong Kong, the US and Japan, although it recently decided to close the accounts of Japanese residents as a result of compliance issues. The exchange also announced the launch of a trading platform in Australia supporting 10 pairs against the AUD, including bitcoin cash (BCH), with plans to add new cryptos in the future. Huobi confirmed it will open an office in London, too.

In April, the Hong Kong based Okex, the digital asset exchange founded by OK Coin CEO Star Xu, revealed plans to expand its operations to Malta. Its announcement came after in March, Binance, currently the largest crypto exchange by trade volume, shared its intention to move to the island nation. Binance wants to offer EUR and GBP pairs from Malta, which is a member of the European Union. The company is also launching a fiat-crypto trading platform in Uganda.

Do you think Chinese regulators will eventually reverse the ban on crypto trading? Share your expectations in the comments section below. 


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Unaware Where Bitcoins Are Mined, RBZ Governor Embraces Blockchain

Unaware Where Bitcoins Are Mined, RBZ Governor Embraces Blockchain

The governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has made several statements about cryptocurrencies that attest to insufficient knowledge of the matter. The central bank, which recently banned financial institutions from working with crypto companies, now wants to study and embrace the blockchain technology that “encompasses all the cryptocurrencies.”   

Also read: Zimbabwe’s Golix Exchange Enters Kenya, Uganda, South Africa

CB Governor Wants to Know Where Bitcoins Come From

RBZ, the central bank of troubled Zimbabwe, has initiated studies to investigate the blockchain technology and its possible applications. The major financial institution of the inflation-ridden African country considers blockchain a “new developing global innovation” and is willing to embrace it, according to its governor, John Mangudya.

On Wednesday, Mr. Mangudya told guests attending the Alpha Media Holdings Banks and Banking breakfast meeting in Harare that RBZ is moving in that direction, just like many other central banks around the world. “In fact, it is true that for the rest of the world, if you go to countries like United States, China, United Kingdom, and South Africa, it [blockchain] is the issue that is being discussed by the central banks, including the likes of the International Monetary Fund,” he explained.

Unaware Where Bitcoins Are Mined, RBZ Governor Embraces Blockchain
John Mangudya

Like many of his colleagues, John Mangudya made it clear that he is not referring to the digital money underpinned by the blockchain technology. “I did not say cryptocurrencies because it is lower than blockchain. Blockchain encompasses all the cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and we are saying we are putting in motion studies, ways and means of investigating that blockchain technology,” he elaborated, noting the need for a cautious approach but also stressing that RBZ should not be “left out” on these developments.

“What we are against as I have always said is to do things which are not regulated because we need to know where these bitcoins are being mined and do want to hunt them. So while we want to embrace things, we need to know where they are coming from. If you embrace mobile banking platforms we know that there is a trust account,” the governor said, quoted by News Day. Mangudya tried to further reason RBZ’s position on cryptocurrencies, demonstrating deficit of basic knowledge of the matter he seems unwilling to understand: “If you are investing in virtual money, we want to know where it is being mined. In fact, cryptocurrencies are just like mobile money because you need a wallet where you deposit the cryptocurrency, but the issue is what is their source and how do they do it?”

Zimbabwe’s Crypto Troubles

John Mangudya’s comments represent another example of how cryptocurrencies fall victim of arbitrary measures imposed by policy makers and regulators that are not quite qualified. The decisions of the central bank in Harare have had serious implications for Zimbabwe’s nascent crypto sector which was offering a way out of some of the country’s financial woes.

In early May, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe issued a circular to commercial banks, instructing them to close all accounts of crypto firms within a two-month period and banning crypto trade. With another directive, released on May 17, the central bank ordered the country’s first and leading crypto exchange, Golix, to cease all operations immediately. On the 21st, Golix referred to the High Court requesting the lifting of the ban. The exchange was only granted interim relief, despite previous reports of the ban’s reversal.

Unaware Where Bitcoins Are Mined, RBZ Governor Embraces Blockchain

The lifting of the restrictions on crypto trading by Justice Alphas Chitakunye did not help Golix a lot, as RBZ’s order for banks and financial institutions to quit dealing with crypto companies remained in place. That pushed the company operating the trading platform, Bitfinance, to look around for other markets. In June, reports came out that Golix is entering three other African countries in an attempt to stay afloat in the aftermath of the crypto ban in Zimbabwe.

Do you agree that central bankers and policy makers should try to learn more about cryptocurrencies before banning them? Share your toughs on the subject in the comments section below.


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Indian Crypto Exchanges Drop Fiat Support as Banks Close Their Accounts per RBI Ban

Indian Crypto Exchanges Drop Fiat Support as Banks Close Their Accounts per RBI Ban

Cryptocurrency exchanges in India have one by one announced the shut down of their fiat deposits and withdrawals as banks start closing their accounts per RBI’s crypto banking ban. Meanwhile, they are trying to educate the central bank in hopes of easing the ban.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

RBI Ban Going Ahead

Indian Crypto Exchanges Drop Fiat Support as Banks Close Their Accounts per RBI BanThe Supreme Court of India heard a petition against the crypto banking ban by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday, July 3. However, it did not grant a stay on the ban. Instead, this petition, which was filed by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), will be heard along with four other petitions on July 20.

RBI issued a circular on April 6 banning all financial institutions under its control from providing services to cryptocurrency exchanges, starting on July 5. Without the stay by the Supreme Court, banks are likely to stop providing their services on July 5 per RBI’s order.

Shutting Down Fiat Support

One of India’s largest crypto exchanges, Zebpay, announced Wednesday:

Today we are disabling the rupee deposit and withdrawal options on the Zebpay app. This is being done in light of the bank account closures as per the RBI guideline…INR deposits and withdrawals have been paused in the Zebpay app until banks allow us again.

Indian Crypto Exchanges Drop Fiat Support as Banks Close Their Accounts per RBI BanThe exchange recently warned its customers that rupee deposits and withdrawals may become impossible if its bank accounts are disrupted. In the meantime, Zebpay noted that crypto deposits and withdrawals as well as “crypto-rupee and crypto-crypto pair trading” continue to be supported.

Indian Crypto Exchanges Drop Fiat Support as Banks Close Their Accounts per RBI BanAnother major Indian crypto exchange, Unocoin, issued a statement after the Supreme Court hearing on Tuesday. Reiterating that the court “has refused to hear the plea for interim relief” and that “The [next] hearing is set for the 20th of July,” the exchange wrote:

Banking services are expected to be revoked this week…if you are withdrawing or depositing any rupees in Unocoin, there could be a time when we may not honour such requests.

Indian Crypto Exchanges Drop Fiat Support as Banks Close Their Accounts per RBI BanA smaller exchange, Coinome, stopped INR deposits at 11:59 PM on July 3. INR withdrawals will be discontinued on July 4 at 11:59 PM, the exchange advised its customers and requested them “not to Panic Sell. Your crypto assets will continue to retain value as per global markets.”

Pexo exchange also announced Wednesday that “We are closing the INR deposit and withdrawal request after 6 p.m. today as per the RBI guidelines. Requesting you all to withdraw your funds before the deadline.”

Banking Alternative/Extension

Indian Crypto Exchanges Drop Fiat Support as Banks Close Their Accounts per RBI BanWazirx announced at the time of this writing that its “INR deposits & withdrawals are [still] working normally,” adding that “You don’t need to worry about cashing in/out of crypto as Wazirx P2P will help you cash in/out of crypto even after RBI ban.” The exchange recently announced the launch of its P2P trading service which will be live once banks stop providing services to the exchange.

Meanwhile, Pocketbits announced that its “INR deposits might not be available after 5th of July, but INR withdrawals will be available even after that. Users can Withdraw their INR anytime. Crypto Withdrawals and Deposits are always available without any restrictions.” The exchange clarified:

Our current banks have given us an extension to disburse all the funds, this does not mean we will have functioning bank accounts indefinitely. We will notify our users days in advance before the withdrawals are completely stopped.

Koinok, on the other hand, claimed at the time of this writing that “even after July 5, INR withdrawals will be available on Koinok and you will be able to withdraw your INR funds anytime.”

Exchanges Trying to Educate RBI

Indian Crypto Exchanges Drop Fiat Support as Banks Close Their Accounts per RBI BanAt the IAMAI petition hearing on Tuesday, the association submitted “a representation to the RBI which was a detailed document explaining blockchain, cryptos and how they function,” Wazirx’s founder and CEO, Nischal Shetty, told news.Bitcoin.com.

According to CNBC-Awaaz, the Supreme Court sent a notice to RBI during the hearing, asking the central bank to respond within 7 days. Shetty elaborated, “if the RBI gets a deep understanding of blockchain and crypto then they may go easy on the ban and think about regulations.”

Unocoin emphasized on Wednesday:

We would like to let you know that this [RBI’s banking ban] is not a ban on cryptoassets and a policy in this regard is expected in the near future.

Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not endorse or support claims made by exchanges in this article. None of the information in this article is intended as investment advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products or companies. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

What do you think of RBI’s action and how crypto exchanges are responding? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Indian Supreme Court Heard Crypto Petition but Upholds RBI Ban – Effective in 2 Days

Indian Supreme Court Heard Crypto Petition but Upholds RBI Ban - Effective in 2 Days

The Indian Supreme Court heard one petition against the crypto banking ban by the country’s central bank today. However, the court did not grant a stay and the ban is set to proceed as planned, prompting crypto exchanges in the country to start implementing their solutions for banking alternatives.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

No Stay Granted by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of India heard one petition against the crypto banking ban imposed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday, July 3. This petition is by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) whose members include major crypto exchanges in the country such as Unocoin, Zebpay, and Wazirx.

Indian Supreme Court Heard Crypto Petition but Upholds RBI Ban - Effective in 2 DaysThe central bank issued a circular on April 6, banning all financial institutions under its control from servicing cryptocurrency companies. The ban is set to take effect on July 5. A number of industry participants have petitioned against the ban. Other than the petition by IAMAI, there are four other petitions which the Supreme Court will hear on July 20.

Wazirx’s founder and CEO, Nischal Shetty, shared with news.Bitcoin.com after Tuesday’s hearing that the Supreme Court did not grant a stay on RBI’s crypto banking ban. The IAMAI petition will now be heard along with the rest of the petitions on July 20. “All eyes are on the 20th now,” he emphasized, elaborating:

The IAMAI had [also] submitted a representation to the RBI which was a detailed document explaining blockchain, cryptos and how they function. The RBI has said it will respond to that within 7 days….The representation was made with the belief that if the RBI gets a deep understanding of blockchain and crypto then they may go easy on the ban and think about regulations.

RBI’s Ban Effective July 5 – What Will Banks Do?

Prior to Tuesday’s hearing, industry participants were hopeful that the court may grant a stay on the RBI ban. Nonetheless, major crypto exchanges in the country have been trying to find banking alternatives.

Indian Supreme Court Heard Crypto Petition but Upholds RBI Ban - Effective in 2 DaysWazirx is preparing to launch a P2P crypto transfer service to allow its customers to buy and sell crypto through its escrow service, bypassing the RBI ban. Shetty told news.Bitcoin.com that the new service will launch when banks stop providing services to crypto exchanges. He detailed:

If banks stop providing services after July 6th then we’ll need to launch P2P. All eyes are on banks now to see what they will do. Do they wait for the July 20th hearing or do they go ahead and implement the ban on transactions from July 6th onwards?

Crypto exchange Koinex is also preparing to launch their own P2P network called Loop. The exchange has already launched a crypto-to-crypto trading platform, as did Unocoin and Zebpay.

Unocoin’s CEO and co-founder, Sathvik Vishwanath, also told news.Bitcoin.com last week that his exchange is working on banking alternatives. “Due to the RBI’s recent notification on ‘Prohibition on Dealing in Virtual Currencies’, our banking relationships are likely to be disrupted on or before July 5th, 2018. We are in the process of deploying new mechanisms for INR deposits and withdrawals,” his exchange announced.

What do you think of the Supreme Court’s decision today? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Indian Crypto Exchanges Launching P2P Trading Services – Bypassing RBI Ban

Indian Crypto Exchanges Launching P2P Trading Services - Bypassing RBI Ban

With the impending banking ban by the Reserve Bank of India, cryptocurrency exchanges in the country are scrambling to find banking alternatives. Two Indian exchanges have announced that they are launching P2P crypto trading services which will allow traders to buy and sell crypto legally even after the central bank’s ban.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Wazirx’s P2P Service

Indian Crypto Exchanges Launching P2P Trading Services - Bypassing RBI BanWith the banking ban by the central bank set to take effect on July 5, Indian crypto exchange Wazirx has been working on a solution for users to buy and sell crypto without needing a banking service.

The exchange announced last week that it is launching a P2P crypto transfer service which it claims to be “the most legal way to buy/sell cryptos in India after the RBI ban”. CEO Nischal Shetty described:

The buyer and seller can deal with each other directly while Wazirx acts as an escrow account for holding the cryptos during the transaction so that neither party cheats the other.

Wazirx releases the crypto to the buyer upon receiving a confirmation from the seller, he noted. “We verify the KYC details of every user before allowing them to trade on Wazirx, and keep a record of each and every transaction that occurs on our exchange.”

Indian Crypto Exchanges Launching P2P Trading Services - Bypassing RBI Ban

Launched in March, Wazirx currently supports the trading of 37 cryptocurrencies against INR and 17 BTC trading pairs.

Speaking to news.Bitcoin.com, Shetty shared, “we have 35 coins listed in just 3 months of launch”. With over 100,000 users currently, he added that his exchange is the “fastest to list those many coins in India in such a short span of time.”

Planning for RBI’s Ban

The P2P trading service will launch once the RBI ban takes effect, Shetty explained. According to the central bank’s circular, the ban prohibiting banks from servicing crypto businesses will commence on July 5.

“We will launch it whenever banks completely stop providing their services to crypto exchanges…tentatively 6th July but we’ll need to wait and watch,” Shetty told news.Bitcoin.com, noting:

People have been worried about how they would convert their fiat (INR) to crypto and vice versa. As soon as we announced P2P there was a big sigh of relief as users in India realized there are alternatives to the ban.

Five known petitions have been filed with the courts against the RBI ban. The supreme court will hear all cases on July 20, except for one petition which was filed by the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). This petition will be heard on July 3. “After considering the urgency, the supreme court decided to hear this one out on 3rd which is before the RBI deadline,” Shetty detailed. Wazirx is a member of this association as are some other major crypto exchanges such as Unocoin and Zebpay.

Koinex’s P2P Service

Indian Crypto Exchanges Launching P2P Trading Services - Bypassing RBI BanAnother Indian crypto exchange, Koinex, also announced last week that it is launching Loop, “a peer-to-peer network for digital assets transactions using fiat currency”. The new service will be integrated into the Koinex web platform and the mobile app. Koinex users will automatically have access to it, co-founder Rahul Raj detailed, elaborating:

In conjunction with the crypto/crypto trading corridors on Koinex, the peer-to-peer transaction network will allow all users to exchange their fiat currency into a digital asset and vice versa without compromising on the seamless experience that they are used to.

What do you think of Indian exchanges launching P2P trading? Do you think RBI will find a way to stop this? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Major Indian Cryptocurrency Exchange Shares What to Expect When RBI Ban Begins

Major Indian Cryptocurrency Exchange Shares What to Expect When RBI Ban Begins

The banking ban by India’s central bank is set to begin on July 5. One of the largest crypto exchanges in the country, Unocoin, is working on banking alternatives. News.Bitcoin.com spoke with the exchange’s CEO about what to expect when the ban begins, trader sentiment, and possible ways to bypass the ban.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

RBI Ban Impending

Major Indian Cryptocurrency Exchange Shares What to Expect When RBI Ban BeginsThe crypto banking ban mandated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is set to take effect on July 5, according to the central bank’s circular issued on April 6. There are five known petitions against the ban that the Supreme Court will hear on July 20, with one exception. The petition by the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) will be heard on July 3.

One of India’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Unocoin, is a member of IAMAI, as are some other major crypto exchanges including Zebpay and Coinsecure.

Speaking with news.Bitcoin.com on Saturday, Unocoin’s CEO and co-founder, Sathvik Vishwanath, explained that the sentiment among Indian traders “is quite weaker than before.” He elaborated that banks would not support crypto exchanges’ customers “to send and receive INR as it would still violate the RBI policy which not only restricts entities but also individuals.” The CEO added:

All customers are expecting the exchanges to figure out the alternatives. Long term investors have not lost hopes…From the effective date [RBI’s ban], the businesses will have tough time till the alternative methods have been figured out.

Major Indian Cryptocurrency Exchange Shares What to Expect When RBI Ban BeginsThe Bangalore-based crypto exchange, with about 370,000 unique users, recently launched a crypto-to-crypto trading platform called Unodax.

Several other crypto exchanges in India have similarly launched all-crypto platforms, including Zebpay and Koinex, with the hopes that investors will continue to trade cryptos even without banking support. However, Vishwanath revealed to news.Bitcoin.com:

The alternative revenue paths like crypto-to-crypto exchange do not have any traction in India as of now.

Unocoin Working on Banking Alternatives

Unocoin announced this week that it is working on banking alternatives for when the RBI ban takes effect. “Due to the RBI’s recent notification on ‘Prohibition on Dealing in Virtual Currencies’,” the exchange warned:

Our banking relationships are likely to be disrupted on or before July 5th, 2018. We are in the process of deploying new mechanisms for INR deposits and withdrawals.

The exchange also clarified, “This is not a small undertaking and it will take us some time to deploy new solutions.” Customers can still deposit and withdraw INR “through normal banking channels” until further notice. Vishwanath confirmed, “There are some third-party dependencies to be resolved before we can implement these [mechanisms].”

One Financial Institution Not Under RBI

One financial institution stands out as a possible banking alternative for crypto firms. Gangtok-based State Bank of Sikkim (SBS) is a lender that is not regulated by RBI and therefore is not affected by the ban.

Major Indian Cryptocurrency Exchange Shares What to Expect When RBI Ban BeginsIn a reply to a right to information application filed by a New Delhi-based lawyer in April, the central bank wrote, “it may be noted that SBS was constituted in terms of the State Bank of Sikkim Proclamation, 1968. SBS is not licensed under Section 22(1) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 by Reserve Bank of India. Banking Regulation Act, 1949 is not yet applicable to SBS,” Quartz reported.

However, Vishwanath told news.Bitcoin.com:

The [SBS] bank has made a strict internal policy that they do not want to support any crypto assets businesses. So for the time being this is out of the question.

What do you think will happen when the RBI ban takes effect? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Indian Exchange Zebpay Boosts Trading Support for 19 Cryptos Ahead of RBI Ban

Indian Exchange Zebpay Boosts Trading Support for 19 Cryptos Ahead of RBI Ban

Leading Indian cryptocurrency exchange Zebpay has added new cryptocurrencies to its crypto-to-crypto trading platform. The exchange now supports 19 cryptocurrencies and over 35 trading pairs, as it prepares for the banking ban by the country’s central bank to go into effect next week.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

19 Cryptocurrencies, 35+ Trading Pairs

Indian Exchange Zebpay Boosts Trading Support for 19 Cryptos Ahead of RBI BanOne of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in India, Zebpay, announced Friday that it has added a number of cryptocurrencies to its crypto-to-crypto trading service. Zebpay claims to have over 3 million users.

The exchange launched its crypto-to-crypto trading service in late April with just one trading pair – ETH/BTC. In early May, it added six more markets, trading BTC against BCH, LTC, XRP, EOS, OMG, and TRX.

Then on Friday, June 29, Zebpay added 10 new crypto-to-crypto markets: NCASH, REP, BAT, ZRX, ZIL, GNT, VEN, KNC, CMT, and AE. The exchange wrote, “Zebpay announces the launch of 10 new crypto-to-crypto trading pairs. You can now trade 10 new tokens, supported by Zebpay, with BTC,” adding:

Now, trade 19 cryptocurrencies and 35+ trading pairs on Zebpay cryptocurrency exchange.

Indian Exchange Zebpay Boosts Trading Support for 19 Cryptos Ahead of RBI Ban
Zebpay’s list of supported cryptocurrencies in addition to BTC.

Ramping Up Crypto Trading Ahead of RBI Ban

India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), issued a circular that mandates all financial institutions under its control to stop servicing companies dealing in cryptocurrencies by July 5.

Indian Exchange Zebpay Boosts Trading Support for 19 Cryptos Ahead of RBI BanFollowing the circular, industry participants petitioned the Supreme Court, challenging the RBI ban. The Court originally scheduled the hearing date to July 20, two weeks after the ban is set to take effect, but reportedly decided to move that date to July 3. In the meantime, crypto exchanges in India are actively preparing to lose access to banking services.

Zebpay recently informed its customers that fiat deposits and withdrawals are likely to cease following the ban, advising them to make any necessary withdrawals beforehand. Following this announcement, all cryptocurrencies listed on the exchange experienced spikes in their trading volume as sell orders piled up.

Indian Exchange Zebpay Boosts Trading Support for 19 Cryptos Ahead of RBI Ban
Zebpay’s BTC/INR trading chart for the period between June 21 and June 29.

Zebpay is not the only Indian exchange ramping up crypto-to-crypto trading ahead of RBI’s ban. Unocoin recently launched Unodax, a multi-crypto trading platform, offering the trading of 15 cryptocurrencies. The exchange has also launched an asset allocation tool called Crypto Basket. Another exchange in the country, Koinex, also offers crypto-to-crypto trading.

What do you think of Zebpay adding support for 19 cryptocurrencies ahead of the RBI ban? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Associations Challenging Crypto Ads Ban to Proceed with Lawsuit

Associations Challenging Crypto Ads Ban to Proceed with Lawsuit

Facebook’s recent decision to partially lift the ban on crypto ads will not stop a planned legal action against the measure. Crypto associations and businesses from several countries announced earlier this year their intentions to sue internet giants imposing such restrictions. The claimants want to proceed with filing the lawsuit, despite the policy update.

Also read: Study Links Social Media Posts to Bitcoin Prices

Class Action Against Giants Will Be Filed

The class action lawsuit against a number of international IT-corporations will be filed in court, despite the change in the advertising policy of Facebook, confirmed Yuri Pripachkin, president of the Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain (RACIB). His organization, along with counterparts from other countries in Europe and Asia, accuse companies like Facebook and Google of banning the ads of cryptocurrencies and ICOs as part of a cartel agreement. Approached by Russian media, Pripachkin said:

We will continue [preparing the lawsuit] since they did not cancel the restriction on ICOs. We’ll press on to the end. We will slightly correct our legal position.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced its decision to allow some crypto ads from pre-approved advertisers, as news.Bitcoin.com reported. Product Management Director, Rob Leathern, posted the updates to the company’s “prohibited financial products and services policy”, stating that the changes will come into force on June 26. However, he also noted that Facebook will continue to prevent ads promoting coin offerings.

Associations Challenging Crypto Ads Ban to Proceed with LawsuitIn March, the Eurasian Blockchain Association (EBA), of which RACIB is a cofounder, announced intentions to challenge in court the restrictions imposed by companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter. The move was initially supported by the other two founding members of EBA, the Korea Venture Business Association (KOVA) and the Chinese Association of Cryptocurrency Investors (LBTC).

In April, representatives of crypto communities in Switzerland, Kazakhstan, and Armenia joined the effort. The plan is to file the lawsuit in a U.S. jurisdiction – New York and Wyoming were mentioned. The legal costs are to be covered by voluntary donations.

Russians Unhappy with Facebook’s Ban on ICO Ads

According to RACIB’s president, the joint efforts of the crypto and blockchain associations from several countries have influenced Facebook’s latest decision. “Our lawyers are preparing the lawsuit, they [Facebook] have recognized this in advance and understood they had a legally incorrect position. So in order to avoid the international trial with RACIB and the Swiss cryptocurrency association, they’ve chosen to back down,” Yuri Pripachkin suggested, quoted by Moscow News Agency.

Associations Challenging Crypto Ads Ban to Proceed with LawsuitThe decision to proceed with filing the lawsuit is not surprising. The lifting of the ban by Facebook does not concern ads of Initial Coin Offerings. RACIB has been actively pushing for the adoption of favorable ICO regulations in Russia. Token sales conducted by Russian projects have raised over $300 million USD last year and the association wants to make sure these companies are not seeking better conditions elsewhere.

The most popular social network, Facebook, banned crypto ads in January, followed by the largest global search engine, Google, which introduced restrictions in March. According to Russian media, the biggest search engine in the country, Yandex, has implemented a similar decision, although the company has not officially confirmed that. Microblogging platform Twitter imposed a ban on advertising ICOs at the end of March. It has been reported that Snapchat has also banned advertisements of token sales.

Do you think a class action suit against the ban on crypto ads can successfully challenge the restrictions? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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