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Bitcoin in India: What Happens When the World’s Largest Remittance Market Regulates Bitcoin?

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:02 PM
Joseph Young
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:02 PM

Earlier this week, CCN.com reported that the Supreme Court of India request the central bank and the authorities to provide clarity on the regulatory framework surrounding bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market.

“According to Indian news daily The Hindu, three justices from India’s Supreme Court – the highest court in the country – have issued notices to the Finance, Law and Justice and Information Technology ministries, as well as the central bank (Reserve Bank of India) and market regulator (Securities and Exchange Board of India), demanding they respond to a petition seeking clarity on bitcoin’s legality in the country,” a CCN.com report read.

Since mid-2017, the Indian government and its cryptocurrency focused task force delve extensively into the formation of necessary regulatory frameworks to provide a better and a more robust ecosystem for both businesses and investors.

However, for many months, the Indian government not offered any clarity apart from the fact that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are not illegal in the country. As such, India’s major exchanges and trading platforms such as ZebPay and Coinsecure have continued to operate, serving Indian users and processing payments for general consumers.

What Happens When India Legalizes Bitcoin?

At the current state in the adoption of bitcoin wherein all of the major global economies including the US, Japan, South Korea, and Russia–Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that regulatory frameworks for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies will be released in the future, following the frameworks other governments have imposed–have legalized bitcoin, it has become increasing difficult for any government to simply dismiss bitcoin and prevent from providing regulatory frameworks for cryptocurrency businesses and investors.

It is not possible to ban bitcoin at the current phase, as that would lead to a government or an economy to be isolated from the global bitcoin market and cryptocurrency industry. Hence, in the long-term, it is highly likely that governments and countries including India will regulate their bitcoin markets.

According to World Bank, an international financial institution that provides loans to countries of the world for capital program, India remains as the largest remittance market in the world, with more than $70 billion in annual payments received by Indian employees or expat workers.

“In 2015, the top recipient countries of recorded remittances were India, China, the Philippines, Mexico, and France. As a share of GDP, however, smaller countries such as Tajikistan (42 percent), vi the Kyrgyz Republic (30 percent), Nepal (29 percent), Tonga (28 percent), and Moldova (26 percent) were the largest recipients,” read  a World Bank report.

Major Remittance Markets See Massive Success With Bitcoin

Major remittance markets such as the Philippines have seen significant success in legalizing bitcoin as a payment method over the past year. In December, the Philippine central bank legalized bitcoin as a legal currency, enabling expat workers and local employees to use bitcoin to process remittance payments.

Consequently, Coins.ph, the largest bitcoin brokerage and remittance startup in the Philippines, gained 2 million active users, establishing itself as the most used mobile app in the Philippines. With a $15 million investment from Google’s venture capital arm, Coins.ph expanded to Thailand and Malaysia and launching Coins.my and Coins.th, adding hundreds of thousands of new users.

Square, one of the largest payments apps in the world, has three million active users. Coins.ph, a local Philippine remittance app, has a similar user base as Square, a $16 billion financial company.

If India regulates bitcoin and legalizes the currency, its remittance industry will be quick to adopt bitcoin, growing the mainstream adoption of the digital currency in the region.

Featured image from Shutterstock.