Indian Government To Decide On Official Crypto Policy By Early November

India's Supreme Court has reportedly given the central government two weeks to declare its official stance on cryptocurrencies.


India’s Supreme Court has reportedly given the central government two weeks to declare its official stance on cryptocurrencies.

The two-week deadline comes as the country’s highest court finally heard a range of petitions lodged by the cryptocurrency community in the country. The court had initially set September 11 as the hearing date, but that did not happen till October 25.

The Supreme Court’s hearing and decision follow on the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) April 2018 ruling that prohibited banks and other financial institutions from extending financial services to crypto-related businesses.

Local news outlet The The Economic Times (ET) reports that nine exchanges had filed the petitions at the top court following earlier decisions in a lower court that failed to prevail upon the RBI to retract the ban.

According to a counsel for the nine exchanges, Nakul Dewan, the RBI has not, at any time, declared that all cryptocurrencies are illegal in the country. However, the blanket ban on banks serving crypto companies has affected the industry locally.

Dewan added that the effect has mostly “discouraged” the country’s crypto community, ostensibly making it difficult for the industry.

Although there’s no ban on holding or owning crypto in India, he noted that the situation is tough for exchanges which have continued to see a decline in trade, putting jobs on the line.

The central bank’s counsel Shyam Divan informed the court that the Reserve Bank’s intention earlier in the year was to discourage the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

He, however, said that the issue of a final position on crypto is more of a policy decision. It, therefore, follows that that decision can only come from the Indian government.

As per news in local media, it is the RBI counsel’s statement that informed the Supreme Court’s order for the government, with the country’s top judges asking Indian officials to give an official stance within two weeks.

Indian officials set up a committee early in the year, tasked with understanding the cryptocurrency space. It, therefore, follows that the Supreme Court’s decision wants the government to submit the committee’s report.

The committee’s head Subhash Chandra Garg previously said that the report would have been ready by September. However, with that timeframe expired, it might be that the guidelines might be presented in court or an official communication given regarding the government’s position on crypto.

Crypto Kanoon, a platform dedicated to crypto and blockchain regulations in India and overseen by a team of lawyers also referred to the two week period in a recent tweet:

 “Counsel for Union of India apprised that Committee is going to come up with a report on Crypto. Court has directed the Govt. to file Counter Affidavit within two weeks.”

The uncertainty in India’s crypto space has spanned more than six months and has seen many observers say that the country risked lagging in the related blockchain technology industry.

Last week, Unocoin, one of the significant cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, launched an ATM that allowed users to deposit and withdraw funds in the local rupee. However, Indian police agents arrested the company’s co-founder and seized the Unicoin ATMs.

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