Regardless of crypto market price action, some countries have had a better 2019 than others. India has been on the back foot for most of it as the central bank and regulators procrastinated with the new technology and stifled further innovation.
Indian Crypto Industry Stunted
Increasing hostility from central banks is to be expected. Decentralized digital currencies are a threat to their entire existence. The Reserve Bank of India has been no exception with negativity towards the industry emerging at every opportunity.
Just last week, the RBI reiterated its harsh stance towards crypto assets but focus was more on the premise of a private company being in control of a currency.
With regard to digital currency there are two aspects… RBI is very clearly against any private digital currency just as world over with central banks and governments
These were the words of RBI governor Shaktikanta Das as a year of exchange crackdowns and regulatory pessimism comes to a close.
According to the India’s Economic Times, the RBI has begun consultations with other central banks on the possibility of launching India’s own crypto currency at some stage in the future. The move comes as China races ahead in the central bank digital currency race with plans to get one out to the public by 2021.
Japan has also embarked on extensive research into its own CBDC while Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, France and the European Central Bank are also mulling the concept.
Founder of regulatory advisory firm Policy 4.0, Tanvi Ratna, is concerned that India could get left behind;
Too much has shifted in the global regulatory front, and that will already start impacting Indian startups, regardless of the Indian government’s decision. The blockchain world in 2020 is going to look a lot different from the last year or two,
Sathvik Vishwanathan, CEO of crypto exchange Unocoin, remained optimistic, adding that the government was unlikely to seriously clampdown on crypto trading unless there was a wider move to do so by other nations.
A ray of hope came for Indian crypto exchange WazirX in November when Binance announced its acquisition of the company along with the establishment of a Rupee on-ramp. It is unlikely that local banks will play ball though considering the constant stream of rhetoric spouted by the RBI.
Korean exchange Bithumb has also eyed India for partners in a new blockchain platform it has for crypto startups in the country.
A Supreme Court case regarding the use of banking channels that was initiated in April 2018 remains unresolved as lawmakers continue to procrastinate and postpone further hearings. There appears to be no motivation whatsoever to resolve these matters, as another delay has extended hearings until mid-January 2020.
Meanwhile the crypto scene in India remains stymied as hopes are deferred until next year.
Will Indian regulators go pro crypto in 2020? Add your thoughts below.
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