India mulls making crypto a tradable asset class

Karthik Subramanian

As many countries around the world continue to grapple with the question of cryptocurrencies and how to control and regulate their spread, India has been faced with the same quandary and it appears that the government might be inclined to treat it as a separate tradable class.

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There have been conflicting signals of late from the Reserve Bank of India and the Indian government concerning cryptos. The only firm thing seems to be that a bill regarding cryptos, to be made into law, would be introduced within the next couple of months. What it contains continues to be a matter of conjecture though. Some recent reports have suggested that the Indian Finance Minister may want to be lenient on the crypto industry and may not outright ban the use of cryptos but would be more willing to treat it as a separate asset class like stocks, FX, and commodities.

But on the other hand, the RBI and a committee set up by the government to study the bill has proposed a much stricter treatment for cryptos with some of them calling for an outright ban on the use of cryptos within India as they believe that it would be difficult to monitor and regulate the cryptos which would, in turn, lead to it being used for illegal activities. These kinds of conflicting signals have placed the crypto community in India under a lot of confusion and the sooner it gets sorted, the better it would be for the crypto ecosystem in India.

Countries like the UK and Singapore have gone ahead with a lenient view and have chosen to regulate the cryptos rather than ban them outright. After enacting the laws, they have also been very diligent in going after companies that do not conform to the new laws and have either shut them down or have forced them to act according to the new regulations. Countries like El Salvador have gone one step further and have started considering bitcoin as legal tender.

On the other hand, countries like China have made a major crackdown on cryptos and have been shutting down the operations of all firms that are in any way related to crypto, including mining companies. The crypto community in India would hope that the government would take a favorable view of blockchain and crypto, where a lot of innovation is taking place, and choose to regulate it rather than shut it down outright.

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