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 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.


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Special Unit Formed to Investigate Crypto Cases in India

Special Unit Formed to Investigate Crypto Cases in India

A special investigations unit has been set up in the Indian state of Maharashtra where there is a rise in bitcoin-related scams. The unit will take over the investigation of all cases relating to cryptocurrency in the state that are currently handled by various police departments.

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

Special Unit Formed for Crypto

Minister Deepak Vasant Kesarkar, a member of the 13th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, made a statement regarding cryptocurrency cases in his state on Tuesday. The Pune Mirror quoted him replying to a Calling Attention motion tabled by the opposition leader in the Legislative Council:

A special investigative team (SIT) will be formed to investigate all cases related to cryptocurrency, including bitcoin, in Maharashtra…The SIT will take over investigations currently being done by various units of the state police.

He explained that the new unit will be headed “by an official of the rank of additional director-general of police,” adding that it has been given three months to research all of the companies “that have cheated investors in the name of cryptocurrency.”

Panel to Probe Scams

Special Unit Formed to Investigate Crypto Cases in IndiaThe Maharashtra government has also decided to conduct an inquiry using “a panel headed by additional director general of Economic Offence (EO) Prabhat Kumar,” DNA publication detailed.

“The panel will be entitled to coordinate with central agencies including Enforcement Directorate (ED) for probe in such scams.”

Kesarkar told the news outlet:

Already such cases were reported in Thane, Pune, Nanded and Kolhapur where members of public have been allegedly cheated through cryptocurrency.

The Pune Mirror elaborated, “It is estimated that investors from the state were cheated to the tune of around Rs. 2,000 crore [~US$2,906,400] in cryptocurrency trade,” adding that “the most common method of cheating was offering high returns under the multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme.”

Other Recent Crypto Fraud Cases

Special Unit Formed to Investigate Crypto Cases in IndiaLast week, the Indian Congress party alleged that some of the top BJP party leaders are involved in a bitcoin scam in Gujarat. The Financial Express quoted a Congress spokesperson saying there were “reports of the state police blackmailing some businessmen in Surat for extortion and named a former BJP legislator as one of the kingpins.”

On Monday, a city sessions court refused bail to seven police officers who were arrested in connection with a bitcoin extortion case in June, according to the Times of India. They were accused of being part of the police team that allegedly abducted and detained Surat-based builder Shailesh Bhatt and forced him and his business partner Kirit Paladiya to transfer 200 BTC.

The move by the Maharashtra government came just four days after the crypto banking ban by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) went into effect.

What do you think of the special unit set up to investigate crypto cases? 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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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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Crypto Exchange Resumes Trading in India Despite Problems with Banks and RBI

Crypto Exchange Resumes Trading in India Despite Problems with Banks and RBI

Cryptocurrency exchange Belfrics has resumed trading operations in India after halting earlier this year due to banks refusing to provide payments solutions to the exchange. Belfrics has also added four more cryptocurrencies to its platform, with 20 more planned for the next six months.

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

Belfrics Resumes Trading Operations in India

Crypto Exchange Resumes Trading in India Despite Problems with Banks and RBIBelfrics, which claims to be “India’s fastest growing cryptocurrency exchange and blockchain development platforms,” announced on Tuesday that it has resumed trading operations in India. The exchange also said that it has added four new coins to its platform: bitcoin cash (BCH), ether (ETH), ripple (XRP), and litecoin (LTC). Prior to the additions, only BTC trading was available. The company further unveiled its plan to launch 20 new cryptocurrencies in the next 6 months.

Jabeer KM, the COO of Belfrics Group, commented:

India is a key market for us when it comes to crypto trading. With the launch of these new coins we are targeting a base of at least 2,500,000 new traders on our platform by December 2018.

Crypto Exchange Resumes Trading in India Despite Problems with Banks and RBIIn addition, the exchange has also launched “a dedicated app for live order-book trading of various altcoins.” The group’s Chief Innovation Officer, Santhosh Palavesh, explained that “traders can now securely link their assets with our Belfrics wallet…The new app will be available for both Android and iOS users.”

Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Belfrics Group operates crypto exchanges in Malaysia, Singapore, Bahrain, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and India. The company has its development center in the Indian city of Bengaluru. Starting this month, traders can also enjoy crypto-to-crypto trading on its platform.

Problems with Banks and RBI Ban

Belfrics halted its crypto exchange operations in India in early January when the banks stopped providing payments solutions to the company, Inc42 described. Praveenkumar Vijayakumar, Belfrics Group’s founder and CEO, told the news outlet at the time that “Many payment service providers (PSP) [in India] have stopped giving services to [crypto] exchanges.”

Crypto Exchange Resumes Trading in India Despite Problems with Banks and RBIIn April, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a circular banning banks and financial institutions under its control from providing services to crypto companies. “Before taking this decision, industry participants were not consulted, public debates were not initiated and public opinion polls were not undertaken. Even the findings of the committee were not published,” the CEO told Indian news service Ians. Recently, the central bank admitted that it issued the ban without proper research.

Regarding RBI’s ban, Jabeer KM elaborated in Tuesday’s announcement:

We understand that the RBI has reservations on trading in cryptocurrencies and digital currencies. But we are confident that they will be coming up with their own set of regulations for this industry. From our end, we are making sure that Belfrics Group is ready with multiple options for our Indian customers when crypto trading becomes regularized.

Since the RBI’s circular was issued, crypto industry participants have petitioned with the Supreme Court, challenging the ban. The Supreme Court reportedly agreed to hear the cases on July 3, earlier than the original date of July 20. The RBI ban is supposed to take effect on July 5. Meanwhile, the government plans to wrap up cryptocurrency regulations in the middle of next month.

What do you think of Belfrics resuming trading operations in India despite problems with banks and impending RBI ban? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Indian Crypto Regulations Ready in July, Official Reveals

Indian Crypto Regulations Ready in July, Official Reveals

If you thought crypto in India was over, you were probably wrong. According to a recent statement by a high-ranking official, the long-awaited regulations are on the way. A draft framework has been prepared, and authorities in Delhi hope to “wrap this up” as early as the first half of next month. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has agreed to review a petition against the RBI ban earlier than expected, resetting the hearing for July 3.  

Also read: Taiwan’s Financial Regulator to Conduct Limited Oversight of Cryptocurrencies

Committee Decides the Fate of Bitcoin in India

The new Indian regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies is likely to be presented in the first half of July, according to a recent statement by Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Finance.

A draft has been put together and will be discussed in the first week of next month, the official said in an interview with the news channel ET Now. Garg, who is heading the committee tasked to determine the future of Bitcoin in India, explained:

We are fairly close to developing a kind of template which we think might be in the best interest of our country. We have prepared a draft which we intend to discuss with the committee members in the first week of July.

The Finance Ministry representative also noted that the committee has made a lot of progress in regards to determining “what part of business should be banned, what should be preserved, and what not.” In his words, the lower detail work has already happened. “We should be in the position to wrap this up in the first fortnight of July,” he elaborated.

Indian Crypto Regulations Ready in July, Official Reveals

Assets, Not Currencies, Still Valuable for Some

In previous comments, Mr. Garg said the Indian government “does not read this [cryptocurrency] as currency” and would not allow its use in the country’s payment system. This, he explained, means the executive power “would do something to eliminate” the illegal use of “crypto assets.” Nevertheless, he recognized that some people may still find value in cryptocurrencies and that would require introducing certain regulations so that crypto transactions are legal and transparent. Earlier reports that the roles of regulators had been decided and that the new rules were coming soon were not confirmed by concrete actions.

Subhash Garg also noted that cryptocurrency exchanges in India are not regulated and indicated that the upcoming regulations would introduce legal requirements for know your customer procedures and record keeping for transactions. In February, he expressed hope that his committee would finalize its recommendations within this financial year. Then, legal changes would have to be made and regulatory responsibilities assigned. Indian media points out, however, that the panel headed by Garg is the second body formed to come up with a solution, after the first committee failed to complete the task.

Indian Crypto Regulations Ready in July, Official Reveals

Indian authorities have been sending mixed signals about the future of cryptocurrencies, along with issuing warnings and applying restrictive administrative measures. In his budget speech in February, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reiterated the official position that cryptocurrencies are not recognized as legal tender and said the government will crack down on their use for illegal activities. Since then, the Income Tax Department has issued notices to thousands of crypto investors accusing them of tax evasion. For its part, the Reserve Bank of India ordered all regulated financial institutions to quit providing services to businesses and individuals dealing in cryptocurrencies. Nevertheless, there are voices within the Indian government that insist Bitcoin has its place in India.

Supreme Court Resets Hearing Date to July 3

The RBI gave commercial banks three months to comply with its directive formally motivated with the need to protect consumers and prevent money laundering. Recently, the central bank admitted it had done no proper research into cryptocurrencies before issuing its circular. In the past few weeks, local exchanges have been preparing for the ban by terminating fiat deposits and withdrawals while launching and expanding crypto-to-crypto trading.

Indian Crypto Regulations Ready in July, Official RevealsA number of Indian crypto companies filed petitions against the restrictions that eventually reached the Supreme Court, which barred all other courts from accepting new petitions. The hearing was initially set for July 20, two weeks after the RBI comes into effect, on July 5, which triggered protests by the members of the country’s crypto community.

One of the companies that has filed a petition challenging RBI’s measures is the operator of the Indian exchange Coinrecoil, Kali Digital Eco-Systems. Its co-founder and director, Kunal Barchha, told news.Bitcoin.com that the Supreme Court has rescheduled the hearing for an earlier date on request by one of the other petitioners – the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). The review is now set to take place on July 3, before the enforcement of the ban. Mr. Barchha also said that Coinrecoil’s lawyer will file a similar request on July 2 and he expects the court to honor it.

Do you think Indian authorities will eventually adopt looser regulations on cryptocurrencies and crypto transactions? Share your expectations in the comments section below.   


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Reserve Bank of India Admits Issuing Crypto Ban Without Research

Reserve Bank of India Admits Issuing Crypto Ban Without Research

RBI, the central bank of India, has not made a proper effort to thoroughly research the nature and usage of cryptocurrencies before issuing its crypto ban. This is according to a reply sent by the bank to a Right to Information query filed by a lawyer. Copies of the communication have been distributed on social media and published by local crypto outlets.

Also read: Pakistanis Find Ways to Trade Bitcoin Rendering Ban Ineffective

The Right to Know Why

On April 5 of this year, India’s central bank issued a controversial decree directing all regulated financial institutions to quit providing services to businesses dealing in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, giving banks three months to comply. The move was formally motivated by the need to protect consumers and prevent money laundering. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) also announced the formation of a working group to study the feasibility of issuing a state-backed cryptocurrency.

This week, however, it became evident that the RBI has not made any serious effort to thoroughly study and understand the nature, principles, and usage of cryptocurrencies before issuing the ban. No internal committee had been formed to investigate the purported risks associated with trading digital coins and no officer or team of experts had been tasked to produce a substantiated decision. Indian exchanges and individual traders were hit hard by the measure. The ban has been challenged in the Supreme Court, and some trading platforms have decided to leave the country in search of more favorable jurisdictions.

Reserve Bank of India Admits Issuing Crypto Ban Without ResearchEarlier today, a Twitter user, @Blockchainlaw91, posted the Right to Information enquiry filed with the RBI, along with the reply sent back by the central bank. According to Kunal Barchha, cofounder and director of the company behind the upcoming crypto exchange Coinrecoil, the author of the query is Mr. Varun Sethi, an Indian blockchain lawyer. Coinrecoil’s operator, Kali Digital Eco-Systems, has appealed to the High Court in Delhi against the recent RBI crackdown.

Q&A with a Central Bank

Mr. Sethi has asked the RBI several relevant questions, including if there was any committee constituted within the RBI that had determined the risks being associated with trading in virtual currencies. He also wanted to know how these risks were determined, and if any responsibility has been entrusted to an officer or a team to understand the nature, working of cryptocurrencies and the possibility of their usage in India, the local outlet Crypto News reported.

To all of these questions the RBI has replied negatively and done away with referencing its multiple circulars mentioned as justifications for its actions. The bank has also noted that it “was a member of the Inter Disciplinary Committee constituted by the Finance Ministry and the Indian government in March, 2017, to examine the status of virtual currencies and suggest regulations,” as if that provides enough legitimacy to issue a ban.

Reserve Bank of India Admits Issuing Crypto Ban Without Research

The RBI also admits it has done no research before reaching a conclusion on its stance when it released a circular on December 24, 2013, reading that “The Reserve Bank of India has today cautioned the users, holders and traders of virtual currencies (VCs), including bitcoins, about the potential financial, operational, legal customer protection and security related risks that they are exposing themselves to.”

The window provided by India’s central bank for financial services providers to comply with its directive ends on July 5. By now it’s obvious that the RBI has neither done any research in regards to cryptocurrencies, nor has it contacted any foreign counterparts in order to understand how the crypto technology works before taking its decisions.

Why the Fight

Reserve Bank of India Admits Issuing Crypto Ban Without Research
Kunal Barchha

Speaking to news.Bitcoin.com, Coinrecoil’s cofounder, Mr. Kunal Barchha, explained why the Indian crypto community is waging the struggle against the RBI’s ban: “The foremost reason we are fighting is because we know that banning is next to impossible and it will make things worse for everyone – for the Reserve Bank, for the government, for the tax department, and for the user. In addition, it will push India back in reference to blockchain adoption across the world. We always have an option to relocate to other country to carry our business, but that’s not the solution. If we cannot convince our own government, we cannot expect other governments to support us.”

Central banks do have authority to ban or restrict commercial banks from a certain industry only when it is declared as completely illegal, Barchha noted. “In the case of bitcoin or cryptocurrencies, that process is completely missing, as the government of India has not yet declared cryptocurrencies illegal and so we have challenged the RBI’s circular,” he explained.

Coinrecoil’s director also shared that “The Supreme Court of India has instructed every High Court in the country to transfer pending petitions against the circular to it and thus our petition is also now in the Apex court.” Kunal Barchha added that the next hearing is scheduled for July 20, which is two weeks after the deadline of the ban. “For the same, we are in talks with our lawyers to see if we can request the court to hear us before the circular comes into effect,” he revealed.

Do you think the failure of RBI to understand cryptocurrencies is the main reason for the crackdown on the industry in India? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter (@Blockchainlaw91), Linkedin (Kunal Barchha)


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Indian Crypto Exchanges Engage with RBI to Offer Banking Ban Alternatives

Indian Crypto Exchanges Engage with RBI to Offer Banking Ban Alternatives

Indian cryptocurrency exchanges have followed the Supreme Court’s suggestion for them to present their cases to the Reserve Bank of India. They have sent letters to the central bank, offering alternatives to the RBI’s banking ban.

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

Supreme Court’s Suggestion

Cryptocurrency exchanges in India have reportedly sent their pleas to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as directed by the Supreme Court’s ruling last month.

Indian Crypto Exchanges Engage with RBI to Offer Banking Ban Alternatives
Indian Supreme Court.

The central bank mandated in April that all financial institutions under its control must stop servicing cryptocurrency exchanges and other crypto-related businesses within three months. Some crypto exchanges subsequently took the RBI to court; their writ petitions were passed to the Supreme Court.

The country’s top court decided to hear all the petitions against the RBI ban on July 20 and ordered concerned parties to engage with the central bank to consider their requests. The Supreme Court “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,” as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported. Quartz elaborated:

The supreme court suggested that these exchanges can engage with the RBI. So, last week, a clutch of such firms sent out letters making their case against the banking regulator’s prohibitory order.

Crypto Firms’ Requests

Indian Crypto Exchanges Engage with RBI to Offer Banking Ban AlternativesVarious suggestions were presented to the RBI. According to the news outlet, some of “the bitcoin exchanges have requested the RBI to remove the blanket ban, saying the regulator should instead enforce it only on firms violating the norms.”

A petitioner explained to the publication, “we have also suggested measures that we are ready to take to improve the KYC-AML [Know Your Customer – Anti-Money Laundering] norms, such as including passport details as well. We are also ready to take any suggestion that the regulator has to offer that can address their concerns.”

Anirudh Rastogi, TRA Law’s managing partner who filed the supreme court petition representing four exchanges, told the news outlet:

A ban is counter-productive, therefore, we have suggested that there should be appropriate regulations that can address the government or the central bank’s concerns.

“Other firms have asked for an extension on the deadline,” the publication wrote, adding that it has reviewed an application submitted by Kali Digital Eco-systems Private Limited to the RBI. The document states that “considering the next date of the hearing in the supreme court is after July 06, 2018,” the firm requests the central bank “to extend the time of three months granted in the captioned circular to at least Aug. 31, 2018.”

Coping with RBI Ban

Five writ petitions have been filed, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported. Last month, the Supreme Court mandated that no other courts shall accept any more crypto-related petitions and all existing ones were transferred to the Supreme Court.

Indian Crypto Exchanges Engage with RBI to Offer Banking Ban AlternativesIn anticipation of the RBI order taking effect, crypto exchanges in the country are increasingly moving away from fiat, creating crypto-to-crypto trading platforms. Unocoin launched a new trading platform with 15 cryptocurrencies last week. Zebpay and Koinex have both launched crypto-to-crypto exchanges.

Currently, the Indian government is working on the regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. It has set up a committee under Subhash Garg, the secretary of economic affairs in the finance ministry, to prepare a draft crypto law.

Do you think the RBI will reconsider the ban and accommodate the requests of crypto exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.


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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.


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Can’t Unilaterally Rule on Bitcoin Legality, India’s Central Bank Tells Supreme Court

India’s central bank is pushing back against a court-approved petition seeking regulation – effectively legalization – of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin in the country. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank and financial regulator, has responded to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in India’s Supreme Court in November 2017 that called on … Continued

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India’s Supreme Court Keeps Ban on Banks’ Crypto Services, For Now

India’s Supreme Court Keeps Ban on Banks’ Crypto Services, For Now

According to a team of Indian lawyers, the Supreme Court of India refused request for a temporary injunction against restrictions imposed on banks regarding cryptocurrency by the country’s central bank. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a circular essentially banning crypto services, which will remain in place at least until a formal hearing.

Also read: Bitcoin’s Anonymous $55 Million Pineapple Fund Gives Final Donation

Indian Supreme Court Denies Grant of Injunction Against RBI

Crypto Kanoon (@cryptokanoon) is a group of lawyers active in the space concerned with regulatory analysis and legal awareness. They’ve been particular watchful of goings on regarding India’s central bank, RBI, and its recent circular demanding banks it serves shut down any business with cryptocurrency companies.

Through a petition challenging the RBI ban, enthusiasts hoped by this week to see some relief at the country’s highest court. An interim measure employed by most courts around the world is to cease a particularly controversial action until such time as a final decision can be made. And it was just such a move crypto advocates were hoping would be followed during the petition’s consideration: allow banks to continue serving cryptocurrency clients as they had prior to the RBI ban.

India’s Supreme Court Keeps Ban on Banks’ Crypto Services, For Now

Yesterday, the Supreme Court instead declined an interim injunction, for now allowing the RBI ban to stay in place. It was a blow to the near dozen representatives from India’s crypto community. It is important to note that such a procedural decision theoretically has no bearing on the eventual outcome of the petition for relief itself. The case will return before the Supreme Court May 17th.

The Reserve Bank of India’s circular from April ordered “with immediate effect, entities regulated by the Reserve Bank shall not deal in VCs [(virtual currencies)] or provide services for facilitating any person or entity in dealing with or settling VCs.” The ban appears to be rather comprehensive in scope, including “maintaining accounts, registering, trading, settling, clearing, giving loans against virtual tokens, accepting them as collateral, opening accounts of exchanges dealing with them and transfer / receipt of money in accounts relating to purchase / sale of VCs.”

Indian Crypto Community Pushes Back

West Bengal’s Dwaipayan Bhowmik was the originator of a petition, asking government to regulate cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin core (BTC). His request was to galvanize the various ministries, from the country’s Securities and Exchange Board (SEBI) to the Reserve Bank itself. Mr. Bhowmik was quoted by regional media as wishing “to prevent financial crimes such as money laundering, flesh trade, etc.”

A quirk of the judicial appeal process in the world’s second most populated country is to allow petitioners, no matter their side advocacy, to appeal together. Two petitioners are diametrically opposed on the issue, in other words, with one wanting an outright ban and the other wanting it formally recognized by the government. For his part, Mr. Bhowmik insisted he falls in neither camp. “I just want it to be regulated,” he said.

India’s Supreme Court Keeps Ban on Banks’ Crypto Services, For Now

There is yet another case, filed by crypto exchange startup Coil Recoil and various exchanges, to be heard in the Delhi High Court May 24th. The two cases are unrelated. As reported in these pages, many felt “the RBI directive is arbitrary and a violation of the Constitution of India, and the court should therefore quash it. The document presented to the count, which news.Bitcoin.com has obtained, explains that due to the RBI Circular the company will not be able to secure banking services that are imperative for the business’ operations rendering it ‘stillborn.’”

Whatever the case, May promises to be a critical month for India’s crypto community.

Do you think India’s Supreme Court will overturn the RBI ban? Let us know in the comments section below.


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RBI Crackdown Triggers Migration of India’s Cryptocurrency Industry

RBI Crackdown Triggers Migration of India's Cryptocurrency Industry

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s prohibitive policies regarding India’s cryptocurrency industry has reportedly comprised the catalyst for a migration of Indian cryptocurrency entrepreneurs in search of more amenable regulations.

Also Read: Indian Ponzi Scheme-Funded Cryptocurrency Mine Raided by Police

RBI Crackdown Drives Crypto Businesses Overseas

RBI Crackdown Triggers Migration of India's Cryptocurrency IndustryThe crackdown on cryptocurrencies initiated by the RBI has reportedly comprised a catalyst for the migration of numerous Indian cryptocurrency companies and ICOs seeking favorable regulatory jurisdictions.

With India’s banking sector prohibited from providing financial services to businesses dealing in cryptocurrencies, many of India’s crypto companies have been left with no choice but to relocate overseas.

Estonian E-Residency Program Attracts Indian Crypto Entrepreneurs

RBI Crackdown Triggers Migration of India's Cryptocurrency IndustryAccording to a report by Factor Daily, Estonia has emerged as a popular destination among Indian cryptocurrency entrepreneurs. Launched in 2014, Estonia’s e-residency programme provides a simple avenue through which companies can become based in the eastern-European nation. Estonia also offers favorable taxation and regulatory apparatus for cryptocurrency and blockchain companies.

Nilesh Trivedi, the founder of Indium, is currently completing his e-residency application for Estonia Mr. Trivedi states that he would “ideally like to diversify from India given the way things are moving here in regard to cryptocurrency and the blockchain space. It’s too uncertain.”

Mr. Trivedi states that the e-residency “will just cost me 100 Euros for three years and I can renew it again after that,” adding that “the tax regime there is good.” Mr. Trivedi also notes that “Being registered [in Estonia] will also allow [him] to offer other services and conduct business in the EU.”

Analysts Warn of ‘Crypto Brain-Drain’

RBI Crackdown Triggers Migration of India's Cryptocurrency IndustryJoel John, an analyst at Outlier Ventures, has warned that the RBI’s prohibitive policy regarding cryptocurrency companies risks creating a brain-drain among India’s cryptocurrency and blockchain specialists.

Mr. John stated “We are having talented people and companies from the blockchain space move out of India. There are enough countries out there who realize the importance and want to take a lead in the blockchain ecosystem.” Mr. John added that “Companies moving abroad is not a new trend but the regulatory complexities faced by blockchain companies have accelerated [the trend].”

A number of other jurisdictions perceived to be hubs of innovation within the cryptocurrency and finance sectors have also been cited as popular destinations among India’s migrating crypto industry, including Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Japan.

Do you agree that the RBI’s policies will lead to a ‘brain-drain’ among professionals specializing in the breakthrough industries of cryptocurrency and blockchain? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Another Indian Company Challenges Ban on Crypto Banking

Another Indian Company Challenges Ban on Crypto Banking

RBI’s ban on crypto-related banking services has been challenged again. Maharashtra-based Flintstone Technologies has turned to the High Court in Delhi to seek withdrawal of the April 6 circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India, calling it “arbitrary, unfair and unconstitutional.” The company points out that the central bank has not provided any reasons for the imposed restrictions.

Also read: Indian Investors Flock to Trade Crypto Ahead of RBI Ban

RBI’s Ban Faces another Challenge

An Indian crypto trading company has raised another challenge to the ban imposed by the Reserve Bank of India on banking services offered to companies and individuals dealing with cryptocurrencies. Flintstone Technologies Private Limited has sought the withdrawal of RBI’s April 6 circular, filing a plea with the Delhi High Court. India’s central bank wants to prohibit commercial banks and other financial institutions from providing crypto-related services.

Another Indian Company Challenges Ban on Crypto BankingOn Friday, the plea was listed for hearing before Justice Rajiv Shakdher, the Business Standard reported. According to the Indian outlet, Shakdher has asked the court’s registry to place it before the bench which is already hearing a similar matter. Earlier this month, Kali Digital Eco-Systems, the company that will be operating the new Coin Recoil exchange, appealed to the High Court against the recent crackdown on banks working with companies from the crypto sector.

In its petition, Flintstone Technologies contends that the central bank’ circular has “fenced” all regulated entities from providing services to any individual or business dealing in virtual currencies, without mentioning any reasons for its decision to impose the restrictions. RBI has given banks three months to comply with the order.

The Maharashtra-based company, which is a provider of online crypto wallet services for Bitcoin and Money trade coin, has also submitted that while central authorities are still studying the effect of cryptocurrencies without banning them completely, the RBI’s circular indirectly restricts their trade. It claims that the prohibition is “arbitrary, unfair and unconstitutional.”

Lack of Regulations Increases Uncertainty

According to the document issued by the central bank of India, the entities regulated by the RBI are prohibited from “providing any service in relation to virtual currencies, including those of transfer or receipt of money in accounts relating to the purchase or sale of virtual currencies.” The other company that has challenged the ban, Kali Digital Ecosystems, has claimed that the lack of crypto regulations has “increased the uncertainty over the treatment of such transactions” and is adversely affecting its proposed business.

Another Indian Company Challenges Ban on Crypto BankingThe Gujarat-based company says that the RBI directive is arbitrary and represents a violation of the Constitution of India. On April 22, the Delhi High Court asked relevant authorities, including the RBI and the Goods and Services Tax Council, for official responses on the plea.

The regulatory uncertainty and the broadening bank clampdown have seriously affected cryptocurrency exchanges in India. In March, representatives of the industry reported that the trading on local platforms had dropped significantly. Some companies have started looking for more favorable jurisdictions, as news.Bitcoin.com reported. Since the announcement of the upcoming restrictions, however, trading volumes in India have spiked again, with investors trying to take advantage of the window before the ban takes effect.

Do you expect the Indian government to eventually legalize crypto-related activities? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 


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At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even lookup the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

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Indian Exchange Launches 23 Crypto-to-Crypto Trading Pairs with Zero Fees

Indian Exchange Launches 23 Crypto-to-Crypto Trading Pairs With Zero Fees

Another Indian cryptocurrency exchange has launched crypto-to-crypto trading. Koinex is offering 23 crypto-to-crypto trading pairs with zero fees. Earlier this week, leading Indian exchange Zebpay also launched crypto-to-crypto trading but with only one trading pair.

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

Koinex’s Crypto-to-Crypto Trading

Indian Exchange Launches 23 Crypto-to-Crypto Trading Pairs With Zero FeesIndian exchange Koinex announced last week, “We are delighted to announce the commencement of crypto-to-crypto trading on our platform,” elaborating:

We are going live with not just one or two crypto-crypto pairs; we are launching a total of 15 token pairs, all at the same time!…This is the largest crypto-crypto pair offering by any Indian exchange and to add to this, the trading fees will be zero.

Indian Exchange Launches 23 Crypto-to-Crypto Trading Pairs With Zero FeesThe exchange then announced on Saturday the addition of 8 more crypto-to-crypto trading pairs, set to go live on Saturday night.

In addition, the “seller fee has been revised to 0.15% for the INR market. Buyer fee is now fixed at a flat rate of 0.15%,” Koinex detailed.

As for deposits, the exchange clarified, “INR deposits via UPI and Netbanking are now live with payment gateway 2. Deposit fee is 1.18% for UPI and 2% for Netbanking.” However, Koinex reiterated that “all other payment methods are discontinued…All INR withdrawals are temporarily halted.”

23 New Trading Pairs

Koinex currently has 19 coins listed for trading against the Indian rupee. Its 24-hour trading volume for all cryptocurrencies is approximately $5.5 million, according to Coinmarketcap.

Indian Exchange Launches 23 Crypto-to-Crypto Trading Pairs With Zero FeesFor crypto-to-crypto trading, there are nine bitcoin trading pairs, six ether, and eight ripple –a total of 23. Bitcoin and ether trading pairs are already live and ripple pairs are set to go live on Saturday night, the exchange clarified. “For the first time in the crypto world, Koinex proudly presents XRP-based trading market with 8 XRP pairs going live tonight.”

“The tokens available in the bitcoin market will be ethereum (ETH/BTC), litecoin (LTC/BTC), TRON (TRX/BTC), ripple (XRP/BTC), omisego (OMG/BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH/BTC), EOS (EOS/BTC), nucleus vision (NCASH/BTC), and request (REQ/BTC),” Koinex wrote.

Indian Exchange Launches 23 Crypto-to-Crypto Trading Pairs With Zero FeesFor the ether market, in addition to BTC, the exchange is offering trading pairs for BCH, TRX, XRP, OMG, EOS, and NCASH.

For the ripple market, customers can trade BTC as well as LTC, TRX, EOS, OMG, REQ, NCASH, AE (aeternity), and GNT (golem).

Indian Exchange Launches 23 Crypto-to-Crypto Trading Pairs With Zero Fees

Bypassing RBI’s Order

Indian Exchange Launches 23 Crypto-to-Crypto Trading Pairs With Zero FeesOne of India’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Zebpay, also launched crypto-to-crypto trading last week with one trading pair – ETH/BTC.

Both Zebpay and Koinex launched their crypto-to-crypto trading services after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued an order banning banks and financial institutions under its control from dealing “in virtual currencies or provide services for facilitating any person or entity in dealing with or settling virtual currencies,” Koinex described, adding that:

Such services include maintaining accounts, registering, trading, settling, clearing, giving loans against virtual tokens, accepting them as collateral, opening accounts of exchanges dealing with them and transfer / receipt of money in accounts relating to purchase/ sale of virtual currencies.

The exchange warned that RBI’s order could cause “a disruption in [its] banking services” which “may affect our capacity to service withdrawals and deposits seamlessly.”

The RBI has since been taken to court by Kali Digital Eco-Systems. The Delhi High Court has accepted the company’s petition and issued a notice to the central bank. Other exchange operators are also planning to challenge the regulator as a consortium.

What do you think of Koinex launching crypto-to-crypto trading with 23 trading pairs? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Koinex.


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