Bitcoin legality in India – Is Cryptocurrency Legal in India?
Is Cryptocurrency Legal in India?
Bitcoin has been a heavy financial blow to the trading world since it rose to significance. The flickering uncertainty of the traditional economy, entirely controlled by the government has caused several disastrous events in the past. But Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies in the world are completely free from government and political influence, which don’t lose its value over a political takeover.
India has also witnessed the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in some events. You may remember the demonetization and the aftermath of it. Here in India, we saw a spike of Bitcoin users around that time but the sudden ban imposed by the RBI made it all gone. Now that after two years the Supreme Court has overruled the decision of RBI, the Indian cryptocurrency market is slowly rising from ashes.
But the question remains, about Bitcoin legality in India if legal then does it have a framework and regulations passed by the Government?
Before we find answers to these questions, let’s look back at the beginning.
Started in 2009, Bitcoin first rose to global significance in the year 2017. It was the first time for bitcoin to cross the $1000 mark but it didn’t stop there.
Then came a blow from the Chinese government when the People’s Bank of China decided to tighten its grip on the cryptocurrency market. As a result, the graph went down by 30%, however, it successfully maintained its steady growth. Around May, it had jumped well over $2000.
It was December 17, the Crypto exchange recorded its highest value of all time as the Bitcoin value was standing on the number $19,783.21.
But the market subsequently came down and nowadays it roams around the $10,000 mark.
India Banned Cryptocurrency in 2018
Surprisingly when the world was facing a crypto bull market race, Indian backed down from the idea and the Reserve Bank of India imposed a de facto ban on the trading of crypto.
The RBI assessed that there were multiple risks involved in dealing with crypto and should be immediately banned to trade it. As a result, the huge market that was yet to understand its potential was dismissed.
Many people and respective associations spoke against it and the Internet & Mobile Association of India went to the Supreme Court against the RBI’s decision.
At that point, India had around 5 million cryptocurrency users, who were actively trading and using Bitcoin as a currency. But all of a sudden it all shut down, as the users were left with the option to either hold on to their Bitcoin savings or trade through the foreign.
But since Supreme Court took the matter in hand the situation began to change. Unlike RBI, SC had a wider view on the matter and asked about the reasons of the Bitcoin trade ban.
While there wasn’t any satisfactory answers from the RBI, the Supreme Court lifted the ban on the use of Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in 2020.
It seems like, with the ban lifted, India is currently free to deal or trade in Bitcoins without any barriers. But it isn’t that easy.
Bitcoin legality in India
Now having covered all the backstories, let’s take a look at the main question of this article.
Can you trade bitcoins now?
The answer is- Yes. Trading or dealing with bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency like Etherium is legal in India. You can trade, buy, and sell bitcoins from domestic or foreign exchanges and even invest in them.
Startups like WazirX, Lastbit, Zebpay, and international companies like Paxful are providing platforms to market crypto as the optional currency. CEOs of these companies are hopeful for the near future as India is counted among the five countries to have the most Bitcoin users.
But there are some problems yet unresolved.
Crypto Mining. Though the SC lifted the ban from crypto trading, crypto mining is still impossible in India. Mining is a work that requires specific technologies and a high supply of electricity. While the latter is a problem in India, the former is the bigger challenge. Because the machine to mine bitcoins, ASIC is still illegal to import.
ASIC standing for application-specific integrated circuit is the most advanced technology to mine bitcoin profitably. When the crypto was banned, importing ASIC was also banned. So, now the miners are left with nothing useful other than GPU technology to mine. While GPU was useful 10 years ago, today it simply doesn’t work.
It’s also unlikely to manufacture ASIC in India, because it only works for the purpose of crypto mining only. As long as there’s no stable market here, manufacturers wouldn’t take the risk to produce it here.
So, the conclusion on Bitcoin legality in India can be to trade crypto but not mine it. We think it’s still a fair opportunity to get the Indian crypto market a bit more stability and then the government might reconsider their stand on crypto mining.
Tags – Bitcoin trading in India