In a recently issued policy document, the Reserve Bank of India moved to cull support for both persons or businesses that deal in cryptocurrencies – though Indian cryptocurrency enthusiasts are now fighting back in the form of an online petition.
The petition, which was launched on the same day as the Reserve Bank’s newest policy document, has now accumulated 18,000 signatures.
Directed to the Reserve Bank as well as the Prime Minister of India, the petition calls for a cryptocurrency-friendly framework and identifies the ‘hypocrisy’ of the Reserve Bank’s bid for its own digital currency.
The petition outlines a view that the Reserve Bank’s new policy “is clearly stifling innovation around blockchain” – elaborating that “if a government does not facilitate “adoption of new technology the country stands to left behind.”
An excerpt from the petition, written from the ‘digital asset exchanges of India’, elaborates that “the exchanges in India are very forthcoming wrt regulations and would love to comply with any sort of compliance measures that can open access of blockchain to 1.3 billion Indians in a clean transparent manner. We would love to facilitate dialogue with RBI, SEBI and Govt of India around this matter. Most exchanges follow stringent KYC norms.”
Previously, India’s Finance Ministry has limited the functionality of cryptocurrency exchange accounts after criticizing Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies for having a ‘lack of basic utility’.
The Reserve Bank itself wrote that “Internationally, while the regulatory response to these tokens are not uniform, it is universally felt that they can seriously undermine the AML (anti-money laundering) and FATF (Financial Action Task Force) framework, adversely impact market integrity and capital control. And if they grow beyond a critical size, they can endanger financial stability as well.”
The Reserve Bank’s abrupt change in policy has reportedly issued businesses with as little as three months to cease all cryptocurrency-related operations, though it remains to be seen whether an online outcry will be sufficient to sway the country’s legislators into proceeding down a blockchain-friendly path.