In the midst of an Indian supreme court battle that could seriously cripple the usage of cryptocurrency in the country, the creator of Crypto Price Tracker, a portfolio management app that protects users from scammers, has been chosen as the recipient of Bal Shakti Puraskar 2020 award by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The award comes in the midst of a supreme court battle between India’s central bank and representatives from the country’s cryptocurrency industry over whether banks should be allowed to have working relationships with crypto platforms.
In a Tweet on January 24th that 18-year-old Harshita Arora’s “passion towards science, technology, and human welfare are clearly visible.” The Bal Shakti Puraskar 2020 “[recognizes] exceptional achievements of our children in various fields, i.e., innovation, scholastic achievements, social service, arts & culture, sports and bravery,” according to the Indian Ministry of Women & Child Development’s website.
Arora, who was one of 49 winners in a number of different categories, was reportedly chosen because of her excellence in technological innovation. According to the Indian government’s website, the Bal Shakti award was created “to recognize the contribution of dedicated individuals and institutions, whose tireless efforts complement the actions taken by the government of India for the welfare of children.”
I am delighted that the very talented Harshita Arora has been conferred the Bal Shakti Puraskar 2020!
She has been focussing on a wide range of sectors. Her passion towards science, technology and human welfare are clearly visible. pic.twitter.com/DgpZaXbViQ
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 24, 2020
Arora told Bitcoin.com that after she launched her app in January of 2018, it “received a lot of positive feedback from the crypto community and got thousands of paid downloads in the first 24 hours of launch which led it to becoming the #2 app in the Finance category of the App Store.”
The app, which was eventually acquired by Redwood City Ventures, tracks the prices of more than 1,000 cryptocurrencies from 18 exchanges in 32 different fiat currencies and allows its users to create push notifications for crypto price alerts. The app is available on iOS in certain areas of the world.
Does Arora being named as a recipient have greater implications?
The decision to award the creator of a cryptocurrency price tracking application has been interpreted by some as a signal of support for cryptocurrency in India.
Blockchain industry lawyer Varun Sethi tweeted that Arora being chosen as a recipient of the award was“interesting,” particularly because of the fact that the “draft law by the interministerial committee imposes punishment for direct/indirect use of cryptos.” Additionally, Modi has reportedly shown anti-crypto sentiment in the past; a Quartz piece published in June 2019 postulated that “there’s little hope for cryptocurrencies in India as Modi returns to power.”
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— Varun | Blockchain Lawyer (@Blockchainlaw91) January 25, 2020
However, it can also be argued that Arora’s award has nothing to do with the complicated legal situation surrounding the present and future status of cryptocurrency usage in the country.
The country’s supreme court is currently overseeing a battle between the Internet and Mobile Association of Indian (IAMAI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). IAMAI brought a case against RBI following the bank’s decision to ban banks in the country from having working relationships with cryptocurrency platforms. This particular point was clarified by the RBI in an affidavit to the Supreme Court last week.
Additionally, the bill of a proposed law that was leaked in July entitled “Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of Official Digital Currencies” would have punished crypto users with either a fine or up to ten years’ imprisonment, or both. However, the bill has not been introduced in parliament, and some members of the crypto community in India reportedly believe that the bill is flawed and will not move forward in its current form.
Indeed, the cryptocurrency community in India seems to have faith that crypto will eventually take hold in India. In an interview with Finance Magnates, Nischal Shetty, chief executive officer of Indian peer-to-peer crypto exchange WazirX, called India crypto’s “land of opportunity.”
Yay! CZ tweeted about #IndiaWantsCrypto
We need all the global crypto leaders to start tweeting and supporting the crypto ecosystem in India.
With a population of 1.3B and one of highest number of devs in the world, India is a significant participant of Crypto ecosystem https://t.co/xMhsDHq9CC
— Nischal (WazirX) ⚡️ (@NischalShetty) January 25, 2020
“If you look at the adoption of crypto in India, the first opportunity that exists is [banking] the unbanked,” Nischal said. “There are 300 to 400 million people in this country–or even more–who do not have a bank account today.”