Panel’s cryptic stance foxes crypto investors – Economic Times

MUMBAI: Indian cryptocurrency investors face the unsavoury prospect of seeing their crypto wealth erode to zero as the Subhash Garg committee report which has recommended the government to make the possession of cryptocurrency a criminal offence punishable by up to ten years has not given any clarity on how the divestment by the customers should be done.

These investors without a legal window to dispose of their assets are now looking at overseas channels and have the funds transferred to them through a formal bank channel. “Those investors who had been holding these assets for years are now clueless as they will see the value of their coins turn to zero without having an option to sell them off in markets which have pro crypto stance,” said an investor. “These assets were bought with all due diligence from exchanges within the country. Once a ban is implemented, how are they supposed to be disposed of before it becomes a criminal act to possess them?”

It is widely held that Indian investments in cryptocurrencies which peaked towards December 2017 sharply moderated since RBI banned all regulated entities to hold crypto reserves in June 2018. As per data from global crypto exchange binance, India saw the sixth highest global traffic in terms of cryptocurrency trading in 2018.

“India has roughly five million investors and most of them are salaried individuals under the age of 30 and who bought these assets more as an investment rather than as a currency for trading,” said Nischal Shetty, founder Wazir X, a cryptocurrency exchange.

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“There may be a mass erosion of wealth if the draft bill becomes an Act in the current form.” Furthermore, the ongoing uncertain environment may also see a lot of early stage crypto startups and exchanges which are also running overseas operations in the country may see shutdowns as the draft bill criminalises all cryptocurrency dealings.

“Any dealing in cryptocurrency directly or indirectly comes under the purview of the proposed bill,” said Anirudh Rastogi, founder and managing partner, Ikigai Law, a technology based law firm.



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