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Indian Exchange Zebpay: Bitcoin is Legal; Refues Local Ponzi Reports

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:55 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:55 PM

Indian bitcoin exchange Zebpay has refuted recent media reports in the country that have supposedly claimed bitcoin has been declared ‘illegal’ by the Indian government.

On Friday, Indian politician Kirit Somaiya, a politician belonging to India’s ruling party, the BJP, labelled bitcoin a “hypothetical currency” and more pointedly, questioned if it was a “pyramid ponzi scheme”. The politician, who is also a member of the Indian parliament, raised his concerns to India’s financial regulators including the country’s central bank, the RBI (Reserve Bank of India).

The story has since made the rounds in Indian news media, with some reports claiming that the cryptocurrency had been declared “illegal” by the government.

Tackling these media reports, Zebpay, among the largest bitcoin exchanges in the country, dismissed such claims. In a blog  today, Zebpay wrote:

No, that is not true. Nothing has changed regarding bitcoin’s legal status in India this week. In our opinion, bitcoin is not illegal. Bitcoin is legal under all existing laws. It’s business as usual at all Indian bitcoin exchanges including Zebpay.

The bitcoin exchange then addressed the politician’s ponzi concerns directly, with bitcoin’s growing interest and adoption in a country of over a billion residents.

“Just like the [Indian fiat] Rupee is not a ponzi, neither is bitcoin,” wrote Zebpay, pointing to the abuse of the cryptocurrency by certain ponzi schemes.

Zebpay wrote:

The well-meaning MP [Member of Parliament] wants to do his job of protecting the people from becoming victims of such ponzi schemes. It’s a misunderstanding of the technology that made him remark that bitcoin is ponzi.

Zebpay has recently addressed a number of multi-level marketing and pyramid schemes that have notably chosen bitcoin as their operational currency.

Not content with the lack of regulation from the government, the Indian bitcoin industry established a self-regulatory body in February this year. The Digital Asset and Blockchain Foundation of India (DAFBI) will address regulators’ concerns with bitcoin by engaging them and explaining digital currencies like bitcoin and blockchain technology. The body will also warn bitcoin investors and adopters of ponzi schemes operating with bitcoin in India.

The increasing media coverage of bitcoin in India comes at a time when awareness and adoption of the cryptocurrency have never been higher in the country, following November’s unprecedented and controversial demonetization drive.

Featured image from Shutterstock.