September 11, 2018, may turn out to be a momentous day in the history of India’s cryptocurrency community. It is the date penciled in for India’s Supreme Court to hear the case surrounding the ban on cryptocurrency exchanges. It follows on from the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) ban on cryptocurrencies instated back in April of this year.
Making the Case
While the ban came after the RBI issued many warnings to citizens surrounding cryptos, it has since emerged the actual ban itself was implemented without any specific prior research or professional advice sought. Put simply, the RBI formed the view it was time to ban, and went ahead and did it.
The matter on September 11 will test whether this edict was constitutional, or if it was made contrary to article 19 and article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which provide for the right of any citizen to pursue any business they wish, and prevents discrimination, providing for equal protection under the law.
It’s on these grounds that appeals are being made for a reversal of the ban by a variety of plaintiffs, including Kali Digital, an Indian startup whose exchange Coinrecoil has been grounded by the ban. For businesses like Kali, there is a confidence being expressed from their legal team that the ultimate result here will be one to their liking and that of all crypto traders in India.
The Waiting Game
This notwithstanding, it is sure to remain a nervous couple of months for crypto enthusiasts in the nation, as they await the outcome in New Delhi. With this case having originally been scheduled for a July 20 hearing – only to then be delayed as parties required more time to compile documentation – it represents another period of uncertainty.
Any decision for crypto in a nation with 1.35 billion people is going to be huge, whichever way the decision goes. But the court’s findings and the uncertainty that will continue until they occur will also have an impact far beyond Indian shores. Right now Asia is seeing a vast difference in approach to cryptos unfold depending on what nation you look at.
Tokyo has led with a crypto-friendly approach to regulation. Beijing effectively banned Bitcoin in September of last year, resulting in countless crypto professionals making tracks for Japan.
As a result, Japan has gone from strength to strength, today the global leader in cryptos.
Then there is South Korea. While for a long time Seoul was resistant and restrictive of cryptos, recent days have seen a clear signal coming out of the Korean nation that it’s set to change. Each nation in the region not only sets its own policy but does so in recognition that any embrace or restriction of cryptos will have a flow-on effect in enticing or turning away traders in Asia.
Just like the news out of Seoul, now India and the Asian region will await the next chapter in India’s cryptocurrency story on September 11.