In India, the question of whether and in what form the government could ban cryptocurrencies has been raised for some time. Now plans of such a ban are becoming more concrete.
On 11 February 2021, the media company Bloomberg had a conversation with an anonymous source. The source claimed that the Indian government was planning to ban cryptocurrencies like a Bitcoin Code review altogether soon. According to the source, he is a high-ranking official of the Indian Ministry of Finance. The government is said to be planning to introduce a crypto-ban by law in the near future that will completely ban the use of crypto-assets. The government wants to create a framework for an official digital currency issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). However, there would also be some exceptions, according to the Indian Parliament Lok Sabha Bulletin:
The bill also seeks to ban all private cryptocurrencies in India. However, it provides for certain exemptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its use.
During the interview, the anonymous source spoke of a transitional period before the law came into force. Accordingly, crypto investors would still have three to six months to convert their crypto assets into fiat currencies. However, the said transition period does not change the fact that the impending ban is causing a lot of concern to many cryptocurrency followers and owners in India. One of them is Sathvik Vishwanath, co-founder and CEO of the Indian trading platform Unocoin:
If the government bans all cryptocurrencies except the government-backed CBDC, there is no point in continuing our business in India. But we have to wait and watch.
Back in August 2020, the Indian government let it be known that it was tweaking a crypto ban by law. This was a time when India was experiencing a real crypto boom. Cryptocurrencies have been a thorn in the side of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for a long time. In 2018, the RBI had already banned private cryptocurrencies for the first time. In March 2020, however, the Supreme Court of India lifted this ban again. Influential investor houses like JPMorgan, spoke out in favour of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at that time. Later, major payment service providers like PayPal adopted Bitcoin as a payment method. Recently, MasterCard also announced its intention to introduce payments with cryptocurrencies. When exactly the ban on cryptocurrencies will come into force in India remains to be seen.