The Indian government’s stance towards cryptocurrencies seems to be changing as the country is considering classifying Bitcoin as an asset class.
Local media house The New Indian Express cited anonymous ‘top sources’ to report on Thursday that the government has moved away from the expected law to ban Bitcoin and other digital assets in the country.
However, none of the Indian officials has confirmed the report.
If Bitcoin officially gets the status of an asset in India, its regulatory responsibilities will move away from the hostile central bank to the country’s securities markets regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
But, it is not clear what would be the fate of altcoins: whether they will also be seen as assets or not.
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End of All Hostility?
Indian agencies and the government have always remained hostile towards cryptocurrencies. When the crypto activities were booming in 2018, the central bank brought an order depriving the crypto companies of banking services, which brought the industry to its knees. However, that order was squashed by the country’s apex court in a landmark judgment last year.
The woes of the Indian crypto industry were far from over as the government reportedly decided to ban cryptocurrencies by passing legislation. Though a crypto-related bill was queued in the last parliamentary session, it was not tabled and discussed.
Meanwhile, the local crypto exchanges were facing hostility from the banks as none want to work with them, citing internal policies, and this heavily impacted fiat deposits on the platforms. The Reserve Bank of India had to issue a notice last month clarifying that banks can work with crypto companies. But, several media reports were suggesting that the regulator was unofficially pushing banks to drop crypto clients.
Furthermore, the local crypto industry players were in talks with the finance ministry to formulate a new set of regulations for the booming industry. Last month, Finance Magnates reported that the Indian government is planning to form a fresh panel to study Bitcoin trading.