Indian Ban on Crypto Could be Reversed

An inter-ministerial panel will recommend that the government of India reverse the country’s Central Bank ban on crypto assets.

Indian crypto enthusiasts might soon have cause for celebration as the government of the country is considering the legalization of cryptocurrency holdings. Аn inter-ministerial committee set up to investigate the issue is in favor of reversing the ban imposed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), reports The New Indian Express. According to the publication, the committee has already met twice and will submit a favorable report to the country’s Ministry of Finance before the end of February.

“We have already had two meetings. There is a general consensus that cryptocurrency cannot be dismissed as completely illegal. It needs to be legalised with strong riders. Deliberations are on. We will have more clarity soon,” told the publication a senior official of the committee.

In addition to the meetings, the panel has also consulted blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses and experts.

India’s Winter of Crypto Discontent

Cryptocurrencies have been de-facto banned in India since April 2018, when the RBI prohibited banks regulated by the RBI from providing services to ‘any individual or business entities’ selling or trading crypto. The ban proved to be unpopular with local crypto exchanges, many of which were forced to close for good. Crypto businesses swiftly filed a petition with the Supreme Court of India, requesting that the decision be reversed.

The inter-ministerial committee was formed in August of last year by India’s finance ministry to study the possibility of using crypto for financial transactions and the regulatory requirements that would be required for the ban to be lifted. In 2017, a previous panel formed by the government had recommended that all cryptocurrencies be banned.

Members of the current panel include officials from SEBI, RBI and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. Some of the panelists, such as RBI executive director Ganesh Kumar and Finance Ministry officials, have participated in G20 meetings on the relationship between money laundering, financial terrorism, and crypto assets. Those officials are expected to provide insights from the G20 summit in their report for the panel’s next meeting in January.

“We have also taken inputs from cryptocurrency exchanges and experts and will be examining legal issues with the law ministry,” said one official. “It’s a complicated issue. Once all aspects are decided, then we will have more clarity.”

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