The journey of cryptocurrencies in India continues to be upsetting. It is being reported that commercial banks are now updating their agreement terms, forcing new and existing customers to agree on a prohibition on cryptocurrency related transactions. This step is in lieu of the Reserve Bank of India’s order prohibiting banks to facilitate digital currency or blockchain technology-related businesses.
The RBI issued orders asking commercial banks to stop giving any service to crypto related activities. However, banks have now started to make their customers declare that they will not undertake any cryptocurrency related trading activities. This comes as a surprise to customers, who took pictures and posted them on social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
The banks have gone a step even further and stated in the terms that if the account holder were found engaging in any cryptocurrency related activities, it would close the account without prior intimation. Some account holders have said that their banks are “taking permission forcefully” to close their account if found trading digital currencies. Even ATMs are now informing customers about this new stipulation. Cryptocurrency holders in India are unhappy with the RBI and the government and have opined such moves to be horrendous. There are people in the country who have invested a fortune in virtual currencies, and skepticism from the government is bound to cost a lot to them.
It was reported in June last year that banks were sending notices to crypto traders asking them to stop their transactions immediately. Contrastingly, hopes were high after the Supreme Court of India set aside the order of the RBI which banned cryptocurrencies. Also, the second government panel appointed to decide the fate of virtual currency has shown positive signs recently. According to a recent report by The New Indian Express, trading cryptocurrency could soon be legalized in India as the newly appointed government body is willing to impose strict regulations instead of a complete ban.
Nonetheless, this new development has reaffirmed that the journey of virtual currency is still on a dicey road. Though there have been positive signs in the past couple of months, the future is crypto assets quite unpredictable. In October last year, first cryptocurrency ATM was installed in Bengaluru, but unfortunately, was sealed by enforcement departments within a few days.
Interestingly, even third world countries like Kenya and Zimbabwe have started to accept cryptocurrency as a potent alternative to traditional currencies. Benefits of cryptocurrencies for the people of developing currencies can be huge, as the market witnessed it in the case of Venezuela. Venezuelans mined cryptocurrency during the great recession in the past few years, and have successfully escaped inflation. In a survey, it was found that 80% of the Venezuelan economy is now dependent on the mining of Bitcoins and other virtual currencies.
Recently, the number of Cryptocurrency ATMs crossed a milestone of 4,000. Digital currencies have successfully covered the Americas, Europe, Australia and, to a certain extent, Asia and Africa as well. With all the major markets covered, India remains the last fort unconquered for the blockchain technology.