The committee charged with providing recommendations for the regulatory framework surrounding cryptocurrencies in India is reportedly evaluating the legalization of the asset class under strong regulation. According to a recent report, “There is a general consensus that cryptocurrency cannot be dismissed as completely illegal.”
Legalizing With Strong Riders
An article published by the New Indian Express on Wednesday claims that the second inter-ministerial committee appointed to discuss the country’s stance on cryptocurrencies is not completely convinced of outlawing the asset class and is looking to legalize it under strong regulation.
The committee is headed by the Department of Economic Affairs’ secretary, Subhash Chandra Garg. It consists of officials from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Securities and Exchange Board of India, and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. An unnamed official was quoted by the publication as saying:
We have already had two meetings. There is a general consensus that cryptocurrency cannot be dismissed as completely illegal. It needs to be legalized with strong riders. Deliberations are on. We will have more clarity soon
Spirits Are High Despite Uncertainty
This news comes almost a year after the country’s finance minister, Arun Jaitley, declared during a speech in February that the Indian government “does not consider cryptocurrencies as legal tender or coin” and vowed that the government would take all the necessary measures to “eliminate the use of these assets in financing illegitimate activities.”
Jaitley’s comments echo similar remarks by the RBI. The central bank issued a circular in April, giving all banking institutions under its control a three-month window to close all ties with cryptocurrency companies.
The banking ban imposed by the RBI has influenced cryptocurrency trading behaviors in India. Exchange-escrowed peer-to-peer (P2P) trading volumes have reportedly soared in the months following the decision, indicating that the Indian people’s desire to use and hold cryptocurrencies has not been entirely dampened by the ongoing regulatory uncertainty.
Although the government of India has yet to announce a formal stance on the matter, the Indian crypto community remains optimistic that the government will end up lifting the ban and will formulate positive regulations in the upcoming months. The next meeting of the committee is scheduled for January 2019.