Crypto in India: Anonymous Claims VS Sitharaman’s “Calibrated” Stance

Ashna  |  Mar 16, 2021

While the Indian traders were raving in the crypto victory with the evidently confident statement by the Finance minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman, yet another stance by an anonymous government official came surfacing yesterday. 

Adding to a series of rumors over a potential crypto ban, an unknown senior official, apparently with direct ties and knowledge to the plan of a bill to propose a ban on cryptocurrency and subsequent fines, has sent the Indian traders spinning again. According to the source, the bill would introduce extremely stringent policies on cryptocurrencies, altogether criminalizing the possession, mining, trading, issuance, and even transferring of crypto assets.

Despite the palpable confidence in Sitharaman’s words at the town hall of CNBC last week, the rumor has sent the traders back into a state of flux, not knowing what or who to believe. The events of the past week have accounted for what one can only comprehend as a wild confusion between two parties at play in the deciding factor for what will be the future of crypto in India. 

Crypto Ban In India: An Endless Series Of Propositions And Rumors

The rumor that stamped across every mainstream crypto media house today holds extensively harsh repercussions on the traders, miners, and anyone involved with cryptocurrencies, but the most staggering part is the trust claimed by the source on getting the bill approved on accounts of PM Narendra Modi’s government holding a comfortable majority in the parliament. While it’s true that cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, have massively been in the light of extreme criticism during the proposed ban of RBI, the interest and worldwide adoption for blockchain technology and its uses kept the market up through the years of uncertainty. 

While Indian traders and investors were still active participants in the crypto market, the supreme court’s judgment of quashing the proposed ban sent an unprecedented surge into the crypto trade volume from India. Though signs of regulations over cryptocurrencies in India were nowhere in sight, implementation of 18% GST on cryptocurrencies surfaced from an unconfirmed source. While the debatable news seemed like something of a stride forward in terms of crypto adoption in India, the news could neither boast of having sufficient credibility nor a follow-up from any reliable source. 

Heading into one of the most booming phases the crypto market has ever seen with BTC breaking all-time highs all the way to over $58k by February end, India was still in the stormy waves of no regulations and a bill in the legislative order of business to ban all private cryptocurrencies. However, definition of what fell under the term “private” was not clear at the time, resulting in a highly needed clarification over what strikes as a public or private digital currency. Adding to what seems like a ritual in a loop of sending out a word of grief through the hearts of the traders, a Bloomberg report went viral, citing a senior (again anonymous) Indian finance minister that the country would be banning all cryptocurrencies. However, not long after with a turn of events, an official statement was finally received for the first time about the future of cryptocurrencies.

Window For Cryptocurrencies, Says Nirmala Sitharaman

Setting aside all the rumors and propositions for a crypto ban and ironically on the same day as the recently revealed statement, the finance minister of India, Nirmala SItharaman for the second time this month.

Positively commenting on the future of cryptocurrencies and blockchain in India, she stated,

"A Cabinet note is being prepared. It's almost nearing completion and then it will be taken to the Cabinet... we will allow a certain amount of window for people to experiment on blockchain and bitcoin. However, the what formulation of cryptocurrency will be part of the Cabinet note which will get ready soon," 

While in her previous address on CNBC, Sitharaman talked of the calibrated stance for the future of cryptocurrencies she also mentioned the global adoption and recognition gained by cryptocurrencies. Keeping options for experimentation with blockchain technology and digital assets, the Indian finance minister, this time has shed a small flicker of light over what role the RBI and Cabinet will play, saying,

"My view on this is that of course the Supreme Court had commented on cryptocurrency and while the RBI may take a call on official cryptocurrency but from our side, we are very clear that we are not shutting off all options,"

Who Would You Rather Believe?

While the future will speak for itself and shed light on what will happen for traders and the Indian economy in case of either a ban or pure crypto adoption, it’s a foolish sentiment to believe on a note that holds no signing name at the end of its controversial claims. Especially when barely over a week ago, no one but SItharaman herself has so clearly expressed her opinion about the potential in the technology that powers the Defi ecosystem, predicting a calibrated yet positive outlook on the future of cryptocurrencies.  

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