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Cryptocurrency Is Illegal, India’s Primary IT Body President Asserts

Debjani Ghosh NASSCOM

India’s National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) president Debjani Ghosh has declared cryptocurrencies to be illegal. Giving the position of the association on Oct. 5, 2018, she asserted that:

“It is 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,”

Government Harassment

The declaration comes at a time when Indian authorities apprehended the co-founders of a leading cryptocurrency exchange for operating a bitcoin ATM.

Sathvik Viswanath and B V Harish, the co-founders of Unocoin, were arrested for opening a Bitcoin ATM in the city.

The arrest has reportedly sparked an outcry from cryptocurrency players in India. They fear that the move by the government opens the door for continues and unwarranted harassment.

Pressed on the position of NASSCOM concerning the arrest of the co-founder of Unocoin early this week, she said NASSCOM is yet to establish the details of the case

Pointedly, she opined:

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

On the subject of technological changes and policymaking, she said:

“Nasscom’s focus would be to say, how you synergise technological development and policy making. I think that will be our focus,”

NASSCOM is an influential body tasked with safeguarding tech startups in India. It ensures that legal and regulatory hurdles are eliminated in the tech industry.

Cryptocurrencies Recognition Ambiguity

India does not recognise cryptocurrencies, such a bitcoin, as a financial instrument or method of payment. However, it is noteworthy that they haven’t been ruled as illegal either.’

The ambiguity has led to petitions being filed at the Supreme Court to get a response, but there has been a minimal success. In Early 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) barred banks from offering services to the cryptocurrency sector.

In July, the RBI told the Supreme Court that allowing dealings in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoins would encourage illegal transactions. Furthermore, it has already issued a circular banning the use of virtual currencies.

Irony

Despite the declaration by Debjani Ghosh, NASSCOM has invested in blockchain technology with a special interest Group.  The special interest group, named Blockchain SIG, is domiciled in New Delhi is tasked with educating the public on the blockchain. Additionally, it will experiment and train on the various use cases of blockchain in finance, and non-finance industries.

In February 2018, the Association partnered with Canada’s Blockchain Research Institute to focus on ushering in a digital economy anchored on decentralised technology.

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