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India's highest court overturns RBI banking ban on cryptocurrency

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A man walks past an electric card showing the exchange rates of various cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (top L) during a cryptocurrency exchange in Seoul, South Korea, December 13, 2017. REUTERS / Kim Hong-Ji

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The Supreme Court of India decided on Wednesday to allow banks to handle cryptocurrency transactions from stock exchanges and traders, rescinding the bank's ban on such transactions powerhouse that had dealt a major blow to the thriving industry.

The Reserve Bank of India had ordered financial institutions to sever all ties with individuals or businesses dealing with virtual currency like Bitcoin within three months, in April 2018.

The ban has led to a drop in trade volumes and the closure of trade for their companies.

"Investments had stopped and start-ups were moving away from the possibility of starting a business in the crypto and blockchain space in India, which will change now that the Supreme Court has declared that the RBI circular was unconstitutional, "said Nischal Shetty, CEO of WazirX, an Indian. cryptocurrency exchange.

However, the industry still faces obstacles, as a government panel, appointed to examine the matter, recommended India to ban all private cryptocurrencies. In July, the panel also recommended a prison sentence of up to 10 years and heavy fines for anyone dealing with digital currencies.

However, the government has not yet followed up on these recommendations and has not yet finalized regulations regarding cryptocurrencies.

The government and the central bank have repeatedly warned the public about the risks of cryptocurrencies. If the government follows the panel's recommendations, this could signal the end of the road for these digital currencies in India.

Reports by Suchitra Mohanty in New Delhi and Nupur Anand in Mumbai; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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