Over the last year, the nation of India has taken quite a few steps toward making the use of cryptocurrency within the country very difficult. However, the country’s apparent refusal to allow a domestic cryptocurrency industry may be costing the country to pay a massive toll of its own–roughly $13 billion, according to Sidharth Sogani, the CEO of crypto and blockchain research firm Crebaco Global, Inc.
Sogani’s estimation is reportedly based on an analysis of the amount of revenue that domestic cryptocurrency companies were projected to have generated if cryptocurrencies were given legal status within the country, including companies that relocated offshore after the Reserve Bank of India place heavy restrictions on interactions between Indian banks and cryptocurrency firms.
The Indian government pushes for a crypto ban but remains bullish on blockchain
Sogani told AMBCrypto that $4.9 billion of the alleged $13 billion could be attributed to cryptocurrency whitepapers and similar business plans; $4.5 billion is attributed to miscellaneous jobs, including lawyers, event managers, and laborers; $2.1 billion of the lost revenue would have been from expert blockchain coders, and the remaining $1.27 billion would have come from content creators.
The 2018 soft ban has already made things difficult for any laymen to enter into crypto space. The only ones that are left are enthusiasts – whose careers are built in crypto .. A permanent ban is only going to rob these individuals of jobs, opportunities, and their future….
— Karthik (@Karthikdk72) July 27, 2019
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It is important to note, however, that while a ban on cryptocurrencies within the country may be imminent, the Indian government remains supportive of distributed ledger technologies, including blockchain; the interministerial committee tasked with formulating the legal framework has recommended blockchain adoption, and the Reserve Bank of India is currently developing a blockchain-based banking platform for its R&D branch. As Finance Magnates previously reported, the committee also advocated for the exploration of a ‘digital rupee.’
Still, the India government seems to be pushing hard against crypto: at one point, a bill that would punish cryptocurrency use with a 10-year jail sentence was making it through the country’s legislative branch; a later iteration of the bill, called “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2019”, was released on July 22nd.
While the 10-year sentence was absent from this latest iteration, the bill proposes a complete ban on the use of cryptocurrencies within the country–one that seems likely to be put into place. On the day that the latest version of the bill was published, the chairman of the interministerial committee tweeted:
Committee is very receptive and supportive of distributed ledger technologies and recommends its widespread use in delivering financial services. It also opens up door for a possible official digital rupee. Private crypto currencies are of no real value. Rightly banned.
— Subhash Chandra Garg (@SecretaryDEA) July 22, 2019
Although the ban has not been put into place yet, its effects on the industry are already palpable: several Indian exchanges have already shut down due to regulatory woes over the last several months; Facebook’s Libra also made the decision not to launch in India (if, indeed, it launches at all.)