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Cryptocurrency is Illegal, President of India’s Primary IT Body Claims

Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:03 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:03 PM

The president of India’s influential IT industry body Nasscom has said that cryptocurrencies are illegal from the association’s perspective.

In a week where Indian authorities have arrested the co-founders of a leading cryptocurrency exchange for operating a bitcoin ATM, National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) president Debjani Ghosh has opined it is “very clear that cryptocurrencies were illegal,” according to a Business Line  report on Thursday.

The IT industry association, whose remit includes safeguarding technology startups in India against regulatory and legal hurdles, has instead urged the nascent crypto sector to take up any grievances directly with the government.

Ghosh reportedly stated:

“It is the law of the land and hence, we have to work with it. If we do not agree, we have to go back to the government and speak about why cryptocurrencies aren’t correct [legal].”

For clarity, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin aren’t recognized as a legal method of payment or a financial instrument in India. However, it’s crucial to note that they haven’t been ruled illegal either.

The ambiguity has even seen petitions land at the Supreme Court, garnering a clarity-seeking response by the country’s highest court to little avail. India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has gone on to enforce a restrictive policy barring banks from providing services to the cryptocurrency sector, earlier this year.

Pressed about the ongoing situation wherein Indian authorities arrested the co-founder of Unocoin, one of India’s biggest and best-funded crypto exchanges, earlier this week, she said NASSCOM is yet to ascertain the details of the case.

Pointedly, she said:

“The genesis of this problem, however, lies in the failure of policy making not keeping pace with rapid technological changes.”

Nasscom will look to “synergise technological development and policy making” she added.

Despite disputing the legality of public cryptocurrencies, Nasscom has markedly invested in developing blockchain technology with a special interest group established in the nation’s capital of New Delihi, last year. In February, the influential organization partnered Canada’s Blockchain Research Institute with a focus to usher in the digital economy with decentralized technology as the core driver.

Featured image from Youtube/Nasscom.