While expectations and fears are mounting on an imminent Supreme Court decision about the regulator’s ban concerning cryptocurrency trade in India, the big day may not exactly be a defining one for the future of bitcoin in the country. Other questions and bypass-routes will snowball (or hairball) no matter which way the ruling swings. Crypto exchanges have smelt a lot in this run-up to the hearing.
Tick Tock, Tick Tock – Crypto Exchanges Jittery?
Next week is supposed to be a major one for the ongoing debate on the circular that Indian regulator RBI issued in April banning all financial institutions from providing services in trade of virtual currencies.
This move has drawn a big yellow line for banks and payment gateways, and has halted their work with cryptocurrency. This should make affected crypto exchanges and traders worried, but if you ask Ajeet K, CEO, Zebpay (presumably India’s first bitcoin exchange), he is chewing some cud instead of nails right now.
“We feel that our case is very strong and we are also aware that RBI has its own considerations and compulsions. But this decision is not going to significantly define the future of bitcoins here.” He opines that regardless of the outcome, the space will find its way to blossom. If favorable, there would be other issues and nuances of regulation to be addressed as we move forth. If it pans out unfavorable? Well, then too, the plug would not be just yanked away.
In his observation, staying invested in bitcoin is not a problem for users even now. Buying and selling old ones is an issue but even that is being circumvented as we speak. There are some ways, in his reckoning, that are neither sustainable nor durable. “Why not let people have systematic and official means? By cutting the bank part in this process, authorities are only going to make room for new challenges.”
Looks like he has a point, as half crore users in the country are not going to stop participating in this space because of a ban. Notably, exchange-escrowed P2P trading on some crypto exchanges in India such as Wazirx and Koinex have hinted that a lot of other solutions can be offered for enabling deposit and withdrawal services for customers.
As Barry Silbert, founder of the Bitcoin Investment Trust, remarked in an interview, bitcoin adoption would progress from experimentation to a global consumer adoption phase that will arrive when companies persist in innovating and making it easier for consumers to buy, hold, and spend bitcoin.
Interestingly, an inter-departmental group was also constituted by the RBI to study and provide guidance on the desirability and feasibility of a central bank digital currency. What’s remarkable is that crypto exchanges such as Zebpay lean strongly towards KYC. Ajeet is clear on that in the face of any argument for privacy too. “Some questions have no easy answer. Look at this way. Do you want to make it easy for bad guys or help the good ones and be a good one?”
As long as users, exchanges and traders are on the side of good guys, authorities can look beyond the pixels. The next few days are gonna tell.
What do you think about the current stance of regulators and the future of bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.
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