India’s Crypto Community Holds Fourth Street Protest


India’s crypto community has so far staged three protest rallies in three of its major cities, with crypto enthusiasts and blockchain professionals keen to pass a message regarding the country’s crypto ecosystem.

These street protests have already been held in Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad. However, the fourth one being held in Bangalore this Saturday, March 30, is expected to be the biggest. As with the others, the protest is expected to bring together several developers.

Growth within India’s crypto space has been rocky and mostly stalled since the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), banned all financial institutions from engaging with or providing financial services to crypto-related businesses.

Since the ban came into effect in July 2018, the government and the judiciary (in this case the Supreme Court) have pushed forth and back over the matter, which now sees the public take to the streets to let their opinion known.

According to Akshay Aggarwal, the co-founder of blockchain incubator Blockchain India, the protests have presented their views variously, but all with an underlying note that the country’s crypto space is affected by the indecision shown by the government.

Crowds in Delhi were reportedly ready to challenge the authorities; while those in Mumbai wanted the matter settled more as it was losing them valuable time to “make money.”

The Hyderabad protest saw most people express a willingness to mull over the pros and cons of crypto, Blockchain India’s Aggarwal said.

Indecision hurting crypto adoption

The RBI ban and the consequent indecision by government officials, has affected the crypto landscape in India. It has halted efforts towards wider adoption, with many businesses and merchants gradually eschewing crypto payments as uncertainty continues.

In the end, even those businesses that had embraced cryptocurrencies have pulled the plug- as did Uttar Pradesh-based Startup Café whose owners stopped accepting bitcoin and Litecoin after the ban.

According to Arunn Gupta, the startup’s co-founder, the only thing to do has been to watch the unfolding scene hoping for the best.

The same case is replicated at a restaurant located in Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley. Per the restaurant’s owner Kailash Suryawanshi, they no longer accept crypto as only three customers paid via Bitcoin since it began accepting it as a payment method over a year ago.

While the overriding factor in these protests has been the long-standing indecision from authorities, Aggarwal thinks beneath it, there’ a lot of fear tinged with a dose of crypto reality.

He notes that cryptocurrencies present a world that is “more efficient” and “more evolved” than the one we currently have. The future of crypto, he adds, presents a world none is directly “able to figure out,” especially on its manifold impact.

This has created fear (even among top decision makers) and naturally, people dread what they don’t comprehend.

Protestors, on the other hand, could be driven by another fear- fear of missing out or FOMO in short. The country’s entrepreneurs are worried that they could easily miss out on the various opportunities that come with new technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrency.

However, in all these, the Indian crypto community appears to be convinced that mass adoption within the wider crypto ecosystem is a matter of “when” rather than “if.” The lack of regulatory clarity is, therefore, a big concern.

The Bangalore street protest will provide a reminder to this, but attention will surely turn to the Supreme Court, and whether its decision will be the turning point that India’s crypto community has been waiting upon for over a year.

Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.

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