India has a hot and cold relationship with cryptocurrencies, which still remains contested. A circular was released in 2018 to ban cryptocurrencies, but was shortly rejected in 2020 by the Supreme Court. One year later, the Indian Parliament announced a government bill to ban private cryptocurrencies, but it was never approved. Presently, big names in the Indian crypto exchanges such as CoinSwitch Kuber and WazirX are disabling rupee deposits. Nonetheless, the chaotic world of crypto in India hasn't stopped social media influencers from spreading the word of its numerous benefits.
What happened in 2021?
The Indian government feared financial instability in the country so much that it initiated talks to pass a bill to ban private cryptocurrencies. Their second motive was to create a framework to bring in an official digital currency by its central bank. The main goal of the bill would be to allow "for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses," according to a bulletin of parliament's upcoming business.
The Prime Minister's thoughts on cryptocurrencies
Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India - appears to be on the fence regarding crypto and emerging technologies, and mentioned that cryptocurrencies should be used to empower democracy, not undermine it. Modi even urged for global cooperation to tackle and solve the challenges brought about by cryptocurrencies but India has yet to arrive at a decisive answer.
"Every democratic nation has the responsibility to bring about an emphasis towards reforms in these institutions to make them capable enough to deal with modern challenges in the future."
Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India
In his 2021 virtual keynote address at the Sydney Dialogue, he stressed that he doesn't want crypto to fall into the wrong hands. He also has a strong stance on its impact on the youth - and how he doesn't want it to taint their mindset. Despite his desire to have collective and synchronized action to regulate crypto, it seems that he's still unsure of its true motive.
Crypto exchanges block transfer network
Crypto exchanges are still very determined to thrive despite intense opposition from the Indian government. A 360-degree change occurred when CoinSwitch Kuber and WazirX disabled rupee deposits for the purchase of cryptocurrency through a popular state-backed transfer network. This course of action prompted users to renew their demands for regulatory transparency and clarity.
In April 2022, WazirX mentioned that their deposit facility via UPI had been disabled since December with no further follow ups. At the same time, disabled their users from loading deposits on its app, but mentioned that they could still withdraw funds.
Indian crypto influencers make waves to combat the tide
The cryptocurrency boom in India has brought about waves of social media stars, who plan to surf its rocky tides. Sapna Singh, a YouTube influencer with over 614,100 followers across YouTube, Twitter, Telegram and Instagram - has taken to social media to share her crypto best practices and tips. Sapna's goal is to encourage her users to seek financial freedom with her tricks - despite India's crackdown on cryptocurrency.
Aditya Singh, the founder of Crypto India - is another passionate crypto user, keen on sharing free tutorials on crypto investing, and his topics range from policy changes to blockchain technology. The government's wavering stance hasn't stunted these crypto gurus' resolve to educate citizens about crypto.
India's talks to pass a bill to ban cryptocurrencies has been at a standstill - with its Prime Minister having second thoughts. Narendra Modi calls for global cooperation, but is still indecisive about crypto's full potential and believes in its imminent threat towards the youth. Crypto exchanges CoinSwitch Kuber and WazirX in India are also experiencing a topsy-turvy trajectory, with a recent block in available transfer networks. Despite all of this, crypto influencers Sapna Singh and the founder of Crypto India are hard at work to educate their knowledge-hungry audiences. While the future of cryptocurrency's growth in India is uncertain, the passion and curiosity of its citizens is undeniable.
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