Anticipating the worst from the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, to be tabled in Parliament during the ongoing budget session, India’s crypto exchanges have come up with a novel last-ditch attempt to safeguard the sector from a complete ban on crypto.
Crypto companies WazirX and CoinDCX, along with several others, are running a hashtag campaign on Twitter under #IndiaWantsCrypto and encouraging Indian crypto investors to visit Indiawantscrypto.net, where they can send an email to the Member of Parliament (MP) from their respective district, detailing why India should not ban cryptocurrency.
The campaign has already found support from several startup founders and angel investors such as Sahil Lavingia, Rajeev Mantri and Balaji S Srinivasan. Previously, Congress MP Milind Deora had also supported positive regulation for crypto and spoken against the anticipated ban on cryptocurrency in the country.
Former Coinbase CTO and Andreessen Horowitz general partner, Balaji S Srinivasan even wrote a blog talking about why Indians should invest in Bitcoin, claiming that enhanced adoption of crypto could safeguard national security, prevent de-platforming, attract international capital, strengthen monetary policy, deter financial fraud, accelerate technological development, and hasten India’s ascendance as a global power.
Meanwhile, sources told CNBC-TV18 this week that the India government, perhaps anticipating the opposition to a complete ban on crypto in India, will take the ordinance route for passing the bill. Ordinances are laws promulgated by the President of India, upon the recommendation of the union cabinet, which have the same powers as an act. Ordinances can only be issued when Parliament is not in session. Parliament must then approve them within six weeks of reassembling, or they shall cease to operate.
A synopsis of the bill, listed in the Lok Sabha bulletin on January 29, reads: “To create a facilitative framework for the creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India. The bill also seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India, however, it allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses.”
While Bitcoin and Ethereum are globally classified as public cryptocurrencies, CoinDCX cofounder Sumit Gupta recently revealed on Twitter that RBI has previously classified them as private cryptocurrencies. It is yet unclear whether the government is seeking a complete ban on cryptocurrencies or not. However, given its long-held suspicion of crypto, most stakeholders are anticipating a complete ban, and are pulling out all stops to engage the regulatory agencies in a dialogue through such email campaigns and other efforts.