Interviews 18 April 2018

Cecille de Jesus

CoinRecoil director hopeful for ‘positive outcome’ in India’s reassessment of cryptocurrencies

CoinRecoil explains their stance in the fight for cryptocurrencies in India.

The recent circular handed down by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) banning local banks from engaging in any cryptocurrency-related activities obviously hit some businesses hard. CoinRecoil, an emerging cryptocurrency exchange platform run by parent company Kali Digital Eco-System in Ahmedabad, isn’t taking this lying down. They took the case to the Delhi High Court, arguing that the ban is in violation of Articles 14 and 19 in the Constitution.

To get their insights on the issue, we reached out to CoinRecoil co-founder and director Kunal Barchha. According to Barchha, while it is unlikely that cryptocurrencies will gain legal recognition in the country, previous statements made by the Prime Minister of India and the Reserve Bank of India themselves shed some hope for some kind of compromise.

In an email to CoinGeek, Barchha wrote:

No we don’t think that cryptocurrencies will get recognition as legal tender in India as finance ministry has clearly told that cryptocurrencies are ‘Not legal Tender In India’. We also respect the statement. It is similar to USD or any other foreign currencies, which are not legal tender in India.

“But at the same time, Blockchain is embraced by the government and its stand on this revolutionary technology is positive and encouraging.

From the official twitter handle, Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi also said that, ‘Disruptive technologies such as block-chain and internet of things, will have a profound impact in the way we live and work. They will required adoption in our workplaces: PM @narendramodi’.

The Reserve Bank of India also acknowledged the same in their Press Release dated 5th  April 2018,’Technological innovations, including those underlying virtual currencies, have the potential to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of the financial system.’

The only thing is that cryptocurrency and Blockchain are new technologies and governments across the World including India are vary on its acceptance and are evaluating its benefits and drawbacks before regulating the same. Looking at the far reaching impact, finance ministry of Govt. of India has formed a committee with representation RBI, SEBI, Income Tax for recommendation on cryptocurrency.” 

Despite their business being hit hard by the ban, Barchha acknowledges the need for regulation, and in fact, commends the RBI’s strong stance on hunting down illegal activities in the cryptocurrency sphere.

“We think that the motivation factor for RBI cracking down on exchanges might be the anonymous nature of crypto currencies. Another point we assume is that the RBI is extremely concerned about money laundering, which is a fair concern for any regulatory body. In the Budget speech, The Hon’ble Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitely also said that the Government will crack down on the illicit use of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, which is again a positive statement as no technology should be allowed to use for illegal activities.”

While it is still unclear whether there is any chance that the RBI would overturn the ban—which is set to kick in on July 6th, Barchha is hopeful that the committees launched by the Finance Ministry will arrive at positive conclusions, adding that cryptocurrencies may be treated like other assets which, although not considered legal tender, are not illegal overall.

“In India only currency notes and coins issued by RBI and Government of India are considered as legal tender. These way even shares, gold, bond, crypto assets etc are also not considered as legal tender but that doesn’t make these assets illegal either. There is inclination on the Government’s side on regulating the industry. There have been two committees formed by the Finance Ministry to give their perspective on crypto-assets in India. The earlier committee report was submitted last year while the second committee report is yet to be submitted to the Government. We are hopeful for the positive outcome,” Barchha wrote.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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