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.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the Indian government.


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Indian Central Bank Responds About Crypto Restrictions

Indian Central Bank Responds About Crypto Restrictions

India’s central bank has responded to a representation about its crypto banking ban. The Supreme Court gave the central bank seven days to reply following a hearing last week of the petition by the Internet & Mobile Association of India against the ban.

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

RBI’s Response

Indian Central Bank Responds About Crypto RestrictionsIndia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has responded to a representation submitted by the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), as directed by the country’s Supreme Court.

Nischal Shetty, the CEO of crypto exchange Wazirx, told news.Bitcoin.com that the representation is “a detailed document explaining blockchain, cryptos and how they function,” noting that it 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.”

Indian Central Bank Responds About Crypto RestrictionsThis representation was sent to the central bank on July 3 during the IAMAI petition hearing. The Court ordered the central bank to reply within seven days. On July 11, RBI finally sent its response to the association.

According to Sohail Merchant, the CEO of Indian crypto exchange Pocketbits, RBI’s reply is a “2 page generic response.” While stating that “as of now the response cannot be made public” but there is “not much to read though,” he commented:

IAMAI received the response from RBI as directed by SC [Supreme Court], the response is generic with the same language as the public circulars. They have not even given deliberate thought to the points made by us, all the basis of their arguments is ‘Investor Protection.’

Shetty reiterated, “RBI has responded to IAMAI…They aren’t changing their stand.”

Until Next Hearing on July 20

The central bank issued a circular on April 6 banning all financial institutions under its control from providing services to companies dealing in cryptocurrencies, including crypto exchanges.

Indian Central Bank Responds About Crypto RestrictionsRBI gave banks three months to sever their relationships with crypto businesses. As the ban went into effect on July 5, banks began closing accounts of crypto exchanges. One by one, the exchanges stopped supporting fiat deposits and withdrawals.

To bypass banking restrictions, a number of exchanges are launching peer-to-peer (P2P) trading services. Koinex and Coindelta are reportedly launching their P2P services on July 15. Wazirx, on the other hand, already launched its P2P service. The company wrote, “Wazirx P2P goes live today, 10th July at 3PM. With Wazirx P2P, a buyer and seller can buy and sell cryptos for INR directly with each other.”

Meanwhile, industry participants and stakeholders are trying to get the RBI ban lifted by filing petitions with the Supreme Court, which will all be heard on July 20.

Do you think RBI will soon lift the banking ban on crypto? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, IAMAI, and the RBI.


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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.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Wazirx.


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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.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wazirx, Koinex, the Economic Times.


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Five Petitions Pile Up Against India’s Crypto Crackdown – High Courts Ordered to Ignore

Five Petitions Pile Up Against India's Crypto Crackdown – High Courts Ordered to Ignore

Five writ petitions have now been filed against the order by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) banning banks from providing services to entities dealing with cryptocurrencies. The country’s Supreme Court has set a date to hear all petitions but has barred all other courts from accepting any new ones.

Also read: US State Issues Emergency Cease and Desist Orders to Two Crypto Investment Firms

Latest Writ Petition Against RBI Order

Five petitions have been filed with Indian courts against RBI’s order banning financial institutions under its control from dealing with cryptocurrencies and servicing entities that deal with them including crypto exchanges. RBI has set “a three-month deadline or by July 5 for financial institutions to comply with its notice, putting the cryptocurrency businesses in India in a disarray,” the Economic Times elaborated.

Five Petitions Pile Up Against India's Crypto Crackdown – High Courts Ordered to IgnoreThe latest writ petition was filed by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), a non-profit industry body representing the interests of online and mobile value-added services industry. It was filed on Tuesday according to IAMAI president, Subho Ray, and the Supreme Court website, Inc42 reported.

Crypto exchanges that are part of the association include Unocoin, Zebpay, and Coinsecure. They were originally part of another industry body called the Digital and Blockchain Foundation of India which merged with IAMAI, the publication detailed.

Four Other Writ Petitions

The fourth writ petition was “filed by a group of 11 different representatives from various crypto-related businesses,” the Economic Times conveyed on Monday. One of the petitioners told the news outlet:

Banking is an essential service. How can one deny access to an essential service when I am not doing anything illegal? You have not declared VCs (virtual currencies) illegal in the country.

Three more writ petitions were previously filed. One was by Kali Digital Eco-systems and another by Flinstone Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which conducts business under the trade name Money Trade Coin (MTC).

Moreover, a joint writ petition was filed by four cryptocurrency exchanges in the Supreme Court against the RBI circular on May 8. According to lawyer Mohammed Danish, the four exchanges are Coindelta Exchange run by Bitfair Technologies, Koinex Exchange run by Discidium Internet Labs, Throughbit Exchange run by Throughbit technologies, and Coindcx run by Neblio Technologies.

Supreme Court Taking Charge

Five Petitions Pile Up Against India's Crypto Crackdown – High Courts Ordered to IgnoreFollowing the petition by IAMAI, the Supreme Court on Thursday reportedly refused to stay RBI’s order. “However, it allowed cryptocurrency exchanges, their shareholders, traders and other individuals to present their cases within two weeks to the RBI, which will look into the issue in accordance with the law,” the Financial Express explained.

All petitions relating to RBI’s crypto directive will be heard by the Supreme Court; the hearing is set for July 20. Pending petitions have been transferred to the Supreme Court from two high courts – two in Delhi High Court and one in Calcutta High Court.

Furthermore, high courts have been ordered not to entertain any more petitions regarding RBI’s crypto order, Business Standard described, adding:

No court shall accept petitions on the subject of cryptocurrency.

Do you think the Supreme Court will reverse RBI’s order? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Indian Express, and RBI.


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