Indian Parliament may discuss bill to ban digital currency trading

Banning crypto is not the solution, don’t make us feel as if we were drug peddlers, say traders

The Indian government’s reported plan to introduce a new law in this session of Parliament to ban trading in digital currencies has evoked mixed reactions among crypto industry leaders.

Quoting two unnamed officials familiar with the development, a media report in India said that the bill to ban crypto trading is expected to be discussed shortly by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet before it is sent to both Houses of Parliament for a nod. The report said the government will, instead, encourage blockchain, the technology underlying cryptocurrencies.

While some industry leaders say that such a move barely six months after the Indian Supreme Court overturned the Reserve Bank’s ban on cryptocurrency payments will take the country to the Stone Age, others feel some sort of regulation is needed to protect the retail investors.

“If India bans crypto, it’s like deciding to ban the Internet. It will set India back to the Stone Age, while other countries will move ahead in this digital currency space,” MahaDAO founder Steven Enamakel told Cult.Today. In India, MahaDAO is the first DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organisation) focussed on supporting blockchain innovation.

Reports also state that government will encourage blockchain, the technology underlying cryptocurrencies

Rahul Kumar of investment bank EGW Capital echoed similar sentiments.

“India’s financial regulatory system is putting the crypto industry at gunpoint without telling them what they need from the industry. The ban will make crypto more popular as people will now begin to find alternative routes to buy crypto. Banning crypto is not the solution, don’t make us feel as if we were drug peddlers,” he said.

However, Matic, a blockchain scalability platform based in India, feels that a partial ban is needed, given the increasing interest of retail investors in digital currency during Covid pandemic, which has ruptured many world economies.

“I feel a full ban won’t be likely, but I feel that the government should regulate trading in some form to protect the retail investors,” said Sandeep Nailwal, the co-founder of Matic.

Legal experts have reiterated that such a ban would not sustain in a court of law.

“Digital currencies, particularly Bitcoin, are rallying at a phenomenal speed amid the Covid pandemic, significant enough to eventually become a valid asset class. Any such ban will be disappointing but can be challenged in a court of law,” Delhi-based intellectual property rights lawyer Deep Mukherjee said.

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