After years of struggle, India has finally achieved crypto freedom as the Supreme Court lifted the ban placed on cryptocurrencies on March 4 2020. The Indian crypto community was hit with the sudden ban that closed down major crypto businesses within six months after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), sent out the circular.
Now the community is hit with a wave of fresh enthusiasm as the Supreme Court “struck down” RBI’s ban on crypto trading in India. “SC rules curb on cryptocurrency trade illegal,” the local reports stated while adding that the order has lifted the ban on trading Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
Crypto booming again
As a result of the newfound freedom, crypto-based businesses that had once closed their doors are now coming back in town. Those that remained active during the entire period of this shadowban are seeing a fresh flow of customer interest. Before the Reserve Bank of India’s nationwide banking ban, the country’s crypto-economy was worth close to $12.9 billion.
Benson Samuel, Director of Technology at Tokenyz Ventures, is optimistic about the future of the crypto economy in India. He said:
“It’s a very positive sign that has come through, something that we have been waiting for and expecting for two years now. Most of the infrastructure and bits and pieces towards the cryptocurrency was already built out over the last few years, we should see a lot of them restarting and a lot more activity happening around this space.”
Several cryptocurrency platforms that had shifted base to Singapore and elsewhere following the RBI circular that was issued back on April 6, 2018, are now looking to move back to India. Right after the announcement, Unocoin, one India’s Bitcoin exchanges, tweeted on March 5, 2020, about the resumption of direct bank account deposits and withdrawals on its platform.
During the same time, WazirX, the peer-to-peer exchange that held the fort in the Indian market, also resumed banking support for the crypto trading service. WazirX was recently acquired by the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance. This marked the first time an Indian exchange was acquired by international exchange.
Following the announcement from WazirX, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao expressed his optimism about the Indian crypto market and the swiftness of WazirX, enabling direct INR deposits in less than a day. He said:
Back in January, first-generation Indian crypto exchange Zebpay, also announced a comeback 16 months after it had shut down operations, according to a report from IBS intelligence. Founded by Sandeep Goenka and Saurabh Agrawal in 2015, it is the first crypto-trading exchange in India.
However, after the banking ban, Zebpay shut down and shifted base to another country. By the time of its exit from India, it accounted for more than 50% market share in the estimated 5 million to 6 million virtual currency investors in India at that time. Now Zebpay would easily be able to regain its customer base as the community is expected to look for more investment options.
Overall, everyone is expecting huge demand from the Indian crypto enthusiasts. On this matter, discussing the commercial potential of the Indian crypto ecosystem, Gaurav Dahake, CEO of the BitBNS crypto trading platform, told media outlet Cointelegraph:
“India is the hub for blockchain innovation and has the 2nd highest number of blockchain developers in the world. This judgment has opened up the market tremendously. Some investors have already pinged us who would want to invest.”
Central Bank won’t give up
The Reserve Bank of India, however, hasn’t given up yet as it continues to criticize cryptocurrencies and find it damaging for the nation’s economy. Now, a recent Economic Times report states that RBI is worried that the court’s decision could lead to cryptocurrency trading and put the banking system at risk, so it has filed a review petition in the Supreme Court.
However, legal experts in India believe that the review won’t have any impact on the current judgment of the court. Abhishek A Rastogi, partner, Khaitan & Co law firm, believes that those businesses that had gone bankrupt following the ban could take matters to court to recover damages. He said:
“SC may look at the RBI’s review petition, but as of now the cryptocurrency platforms can operate in India, Many companies have even gone bankrupt after the RBI’s diktat, and they may also look to initiate action in this regard.”
Popular Indian crypto commentator, Crypto Kanoon, explained the entire scenario in a series of tweets as to what a review exactly means in this scenario. However, the thread concluded stating: