Crypto industry agrees to be regulated, but government needs to engage actively

The cryptocurrency industry in India is welcoming regulation and willing to toe the line, but expects more active engagement from the government and clarity that it won’t be banned, experts told Moneycontrol in a panel discussion.

The first edition of Moneycontrol Masterclass focused on whether India should ban or buy bitcoins, with the government in the last few weeks asking for a ban, and the industry opposing it. Speakers in this session included Silicon Valley investor and entrepreneur Balaji Srinivasan, former RBI deputy governor R Gandhi, Nischal Shetty- founder and CEO of crypto exchange WazirX, Sumit Gupta, co-founder and CEO of crypto exchange Coin DCX, and Rashmi Deshpande, partner at law firm Khaitan & Co. The session was moderated by Chandra R Srikanth, Editor- Startups, Technology and New Economy, Moneycontrol.

While talks of a ban have been swirling around, the panelists agreed that a blanket ban is counterproductive, and bitcoin as an asset class can be accepted. Currently, bitcoin is used globally as an investment tool, as well as a separate decentralised currency.

“The industry would accept the compromise of using cryptocurrency as an asset and not as a currency.” Srinivasan said.

“As an industry, we are not focused on its use case as a currency, but on the other aspects where there is a need for regulation” Shetty said.

The panelists tended to agree that everyone, including the government will lose a lot if a ban is imposed.

“So many investors hold crypto assets and want to invest in India. Banning it will be taking a step backwards in terms of India’s economic liberalisation,” Srinivasan said.

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