Indian cryptocurrency exchanges have started a joint initiative to convince parliament to regulate cryptocurrencies rather than impose an outright ban.
Under the #IndiaWantsBitcoin campaign, the exchanges have launched websites – indiawantscrypto.net and indiawantsbitcoin.org – to help Indian citizens email their representatives at the Loksabha (the lower house of parliament) asking for positive and progressive regulation of the crypto markets.
The campaign has been launched in response to the government’s plan to table the “Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2021,” which would potentially prompt development of a digital rupee while banning “private cryptocurrencies.” While exactly what the bill means for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether isn’t clear, but the industry has concerns.
The campaign is being shared across social media, with supporters tagging friends and urging them to do their bit.
“Within one day, over 10,000 emails have been sent via indiawantscrypto.net from all parts of the country,” Nischal Shetty, CEO of the Binance-owned WazirX exchange, told CoinDesk. “It’s a critical moment, and all eyes are on India to find out if we’re for or against innovation.”
The five email templates available on both websites highlight the positive role cryptocurrencies can play in helping Prime Minister Narendra Modi achieve his aim of a “digital India” and “atmanirbhar bharat” (self-reliant India).
“I am concerned that the prohibition of private cryptocurrencies might stun the growth of Digital India. With the world embracing cryptocurrencies, it would be regressive for India to be deprived of such once in a generation opportunity,” one email template says.
Another says a potential ban would significantly affect the ecosystem, comprising 10-20 million cryptocurrency users, 340 startups providing related services and direct employment to 50,000 Indians.
The Indian crypto industry has witnessed solid growth since the Supreme Court overruled the Reserve Bank of India’s banking ban on cryptocurrency firms in March 2020.
“As per the recent data from Venture Intelligence, investments worth a whopping $24 million have gone into various crypto firms from India in the year 2020,” Sumit Gupta, CEO of the Mumbai-based CoinDCX exchange, told CoinDesk.
As such, a potential ban may result in a significant economic damage for the world’s second-most populous country, as well as have a negative effect on the cryptocurrency markets.
However, an Indian minister recently hinted any ban may be limited, stating that the government aims to curb illicit cryptocurrency transactions and bar their use in payments.