Two very conflicting news have emerged, regarding the usage and regulation of cryptocurrencies in India.
First, the good news: India’s first cryptocurrency ATM is now finally live.
Now, the bad news: Soon, possession of ‘unregulated cryptocurrency’ like bitcoins can attract punishment from the Govt.
What exactly is happening here?
India’s 1st Crypto-AMT Is Here!
India’s one of the first bitcoin wallets, Unocoin, has opened up India’s first crypto-ATM at Bengaluru (Kempfort Mall)
This ATM can be used only by Unocoin customers – They can deposit fiat currency via this ATM into their Unocoin wallet, which can be used to buy bitcoins and other crypto-currencies via Unocoin wallet.
Besides, they can also withdraw cash from their Unocoin wallets, via this ATM.
Interestingly, this ATM circumvents RBI’s ruling that no financial institution associated with RBI can deal with cryptocurrencies. Now, since ATMs are not part of any financial institution associated with RBI, its usage can be termed as legal.
Sathvik Vishwanath, co-founder and CEO of Unocoin said, “The RBI has imposed a ban on banks, regarding money-related transactions, so our customers are not able to buy easily or the ones who have it (bitcoin and its elk) are unable to withdraw their money,”
Amounts between Rs 1000 and Rs 10000 can be deposited or withdrawn from this ATM. Unocoin has plans to launch similar ATMs in Mumbai and Delhi as well.
Using Cryptocurrencies? You Can Be Punished!
Now, the bad news.
Right now, a committee headed by Subhash Chandra Garg, secretary, department of economic affairs is preparing their recommendations related to regulation of cryptocurrencies in India.
Other members of the panel include Securities and Exchange Board of India chairman Ajay Tyagi and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor BP Kanungo.
And as per reports by MoneyControl, they may suggest a very harsh rule: Any citizen of India found with unregulated cryptocurrency like bitcoin can face punishment from the Govt.
The report says, “The Garg-panel is likely to recommend appropriate amendments in existing laws, defining the punitive measures for those found holding illegal crypto assets.”
In April this year, RBI had banned bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, as they found that they are being used for money laundering and Ponzi schemes. (the ban had no research backing!)
At the same time, reports emerged that RBI may launch their own cryptocurrencies in the future.
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