India: Banks ask customer to sign consent form over cryptocurrency regulation breach

The cryptocurrency market in India has not been up and running and maybe a far fetched dream at the moment. The banks in the country are also taking all step possible to prohibit their customers from using their services for cryptocurrency transactions. Recently, HDFC bank joined the wagon of banks forcing their customers to sign a contract.
Source: Twitter
According to Twitter user Crypto India YT, the HDFC bank made their customer sign a consent form after tracking some crypto trading activities. As per the Twitter user, the bank asks the customer to come to the bank and sign a form where they consent to the bank’s decision of shutting their account if they continue with crypto trading. An excerpt from the letter read:
“I/We authorize the bank to close the above account without any further notice if it is observed in future that transactions have been carried out for Bitcoin/ virtual currencies.”
Previously, many crypto-users in India had called out Kotak bank and Digibank for forcing the customers into signing the terms and conditions that forced the users to not do any transactions related to cryptocurrency. Recently, Kotak bank was in news, as it sent a notice to the account holder who had made a certain transaction in crypto, of shutting down the account within 30 days. The statement from the bank read:
“We have observed few transactions in your account with brokers / traders, dealing in virtual currencies. Since these types of transactions are not permitted in India, we are constrained to place a credit freeze in your account. Further as per the extant guidelines, we are required to exit such relationships where transactions with brokers / traders, dealing in virtual currencies are observed.”
However, the crypto-users have found a way to hack the system and continue the way they use their bank accounts without being flagged. The users informed the crypto community in India to not mention terms in relation to cryptocurrency while performing any transactions.
The Chief Executive Officer [CEO] of crypto exchange in India WazirX, Nischal Shetty told the publication:
“Majority of the people understand not to enter such terms in the remarks. So simply avoiding entering anything related to crypto in the payment remarks is more than enough to avoid any problems from banks. There’s no other way for banks to know if a P2P transaction was done to transact in crypto.”
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Source: AMB Crypto

Top Trending Cryptocurrency News of The Week; Constantinople, Cryptopia, Bitmex and Tron Among Major Newsmakers

Ethereum delays its Constantinople upgrade
Problems for Ethereum continued as the much anticipated Hard Fork Constantinople upgrade was further delayed as a code audit by ChainSecuirty-  a smart contract security audit firm found some serious security vulnerabilities to Ethereum smart contracts. The Core Development team took notice of the flaw, and on the following conference, they announced that the hard fork is now scheduled to occur on, or around, February 27th on block number 7,280,000.
NZ’s popular exchange Cryptopia gets hacked
Earlier this week, 2019 saw its first hack of a cryptocurrency exchange. New Zealand-based cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia was reported to have suffered a security breach and went under unscheduled maintenance to assess the losses incurred. The team informed the community using its official Twitter handle which said that once the hack was identified by staff, the exchange informed and involved the appropriate government agencies including the NZ police and High Tech Crime Units who were actively investigating.
Bitmex ends services for US and Quebec customers
In face of a current crackdown on unlicensed crypto exchanges, Bitmex announced that it is in the process of closing down trading accounts of those in Quebec and United States. The mouthpiece, South China Post reported BitMEX was not registered with the Canadian regulatory body Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) and is therefore not authorized to have activities in the province of Quebec making the company’s activities were illegal.
Exchange giant OKCOin lists Tron
Among major listings this week, Tron found itself on a new exchange, this time it was OKCoin. OKCoin customers would now be able to acquire Tron tokens by using USD, BTC, and ETH. OKCoin stated in their announcement that, Tron is one of the leading coins and has 1,423,377 holders and that it is one of the top 10 cryptocurrencies in the world by market capitalization.
Russia denies buying cryptocurrencies
Last week a newsflow from Russia stated that the country was moving towards adding bitcoin to its national reserves. But it seems it was all fake. Following the last week’s news, an official with the Russian State Duma. Elina Sidorenko who chairs the Duma’s cryptocurrency group said that the news was only a rumor and the nation currently has no such plans. According to her, the nation would need at least 30 years to implement this idea.
Indian Apex Court delays Crypto hearing again
The Indian apex court has again delayed the hearing of the cryptocurrency case. The case is being delayed for the past 6 months now as the largest democracy of the world still awaits a decision on the newest form of “money”. While things still look meek, according to sources close to the case a decision may come on February 26, 2019, as the crypto case is now listed as the first case to be heard on February 26, 2019
The post Top Trending Cryptocurrency News of The Week; Constantinople, Cryptopia, Bitmex and Tron Among Major Newsmakers appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

Cryptocurrencies considered to be included in the operations of Reliance, HDFC and Hindustan Unilever

The cryptocurrency scene in India has been quite sporadic with multiple announcements that have worked for the industry as well as against it. The recent update from various corporates in India has thrown a positive spin on the industry, with several companies deciding to experiment with virtual assets for better optimization of financial settlements.
People close to major bigwigs in India have revealed that companies like Hindustan Unilever, Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank and ABG Shipyard are trying out new programs for trade finance functions, internal treasury management, and record keeping. One of the members close to the sources stated:
“The cryptocurrency would only be used by the companies and banks internally. It will mainly be effective as a working capital management tool, where rather than actually transferring money, cryptocurrency will be transferred and accounts shall be reconciled at a later date.”
The main aim of these companies is directed to transfer payments that occur in high frequencies. Sai Venkateshwaran, partner and head of CFO advisory at KPMG gave his opinion by saying:
“Several large companies are evaluating various use cases of blockchain, including in areas such as managing intra-group transactions and as a logical extension, looking at its use as a group treasury management tool for more efficient cash and working capital management. Apart from greater efficiency and accuracy, it has the potential to bring enhanced levels of transparency for group treasury management and also cost savings.”
The officials also touched upon the legal formalities involved in bringing cryptocurrencies into the fore by pointing out to the decisions taken by the Reserve Bank of India [RBI]. RBI has been a major decider when it comes to cryptocurrencies in India, as many crypto organizations have cited the regulations as an obstacle to propagate digital assets.
This was put into play when Zebpay, one of India’s popular cryptocurrency exchanges, shut down its services in India due to regulatory issues. After the shutdown, Nischal Shetty, the Founder, and CEO of Wazir X stated:
“We’ve already found our solution to the RBI ban which was P2P and its working really well for us. We don’t see a shutdown as a response to the RBI problem. I think exchanges that adapt to these regulatory uncertainties will emerge victorious in the long run.”
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Source: AMB Crypto

“Cryptocurrencies are Not a Threat” – Remarks FSB On India’s Crypto Concern

It looks like the crypto market is celebrating the New Year in India. With RBI citing FSB’s remark, the market appears quite appreciated.
Crypto Stance in India
According to the latest coverage by Quartz Media, FSB (Financial Stability Board), an international body that monitors and review the global financial system has recently appreciated cryptocurrency and said that the virtual currencies are not a threat.
The note was added by Reserve Bank of India (RBI), an Indian central bank in a report released in connection with cryptocurrency regulation in the last week. FSB’s comment reads as follows;
”The FSB has undertaken a review of the financial stability risks posed by the rapid growth of crypto-assets. Its initial assessment is that crypto-assets do not pose risks to global financial stability currently,”
FSB was formed in April 2009 when global financial crises hit the market. It was established by Group of Twenty (G-20) finance ministers and central bank governors including the UK, USA, India, and China.
No Clarity
Cryptocurrency in India is never so easy, it was all along challenging for two years. Since the circular sent out to banks to stop servicing cryptocurrency-related operations to a group of individuals expecting regulatory clarity, Indian regulatory bodies seem not yet serious about the cryptocurrencies within the nation.

@SecretaryDEA Please help our voices be heard. Positive crypto regulations in India will help create wealth and jobs for millions of Indians. Millions of youth in India want to see positive crypto moves by the government.
Jai Hind 🇮🇳
— Nischal (WazirX) ⚡️ (@NischalShetty) January 2, 2019

Nevertheless, in last week, Indian parliament made a serious note, where Pon Radhakrishnan, the minister of state for finance addressed Lok Sabha, the lower house of Indian parliament;
“In absence of a globally acceptable solution and the need to devise a technically feasible solution, the department is pursuing the matter with due caution. It is difficult to state a specific timeline to come up with clear recommendations,”
The unclear signal by authorities has kept investors at bay –certainly, traders and crypto enthusiasts cannot withdraw their crypto funds in fiat yet. Besides India, the other member countries of FSB including the US are still uncertain over the adoption of cryptocurrency. As far as India and cryptocurrency are concerned, RBI with FSB’s remark had also left a reminder to all those waiting for the final assessment on digital assets within the country. It added ‘wait and watch policy towards crypto assets’, and continued;
“The market continues to evolve rapidly, however, and this initial assessment could change if crypto-assets were to become more widely used or interconnected with the core of the regulated financial system,”
What’s your best advice to regulate cryptocurrency in India? share your opinion.
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Source: CoinGape

India Still Cautious Over Crypto, RBI Shelves Plans For Own Cryptocurrency

The situation in India regarding cryptocurrency is no clearer as we enter the new year. The government and central bank are clearly still very cautious towards the industry and are unlikely to make things easier in the near future.
No Specific Timeline
The Indian government has reportedly issued an update on its progress, or lack of, towards cryptocurrency regulation. Ministers are clearly in no hurry to finalize a timeline for a movement towards clearer regulation and acceptance of digital currencies.
According to Quartz the minister of state for finance told parliament;
“In absence of a globally acceptable solution and the need to devise technically feasible solution, the department is pursuing the matter with due caution. It is difficult to state a specific timeline to come up with clear recommendations,”
With no further clarity the state of the crypto industry in India remains clouded. A committee which includes members from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the Reserve Bank of India, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, and the Central Board of Direct Taxes has been established to further “study all aspects of cryptocurrencies and crypto-assets including bitcoin.”
The panel was expected to draft a report this month which many hoped would bring about the legitimization of cryptocurrencies in the country. When questioned about the legality of crypto assets the minister added “The government has not recognised cryptocurrencies as legal tender. The issue of permitting trading in cryptocurrencies is currently under examination by an inter-ministerial committee.”
RBI Shelves Digital Currency Plans
The Reserve Bank of India, which has been vehemently anti-crypto, has axed plans to launch its own digital currency according to reports. In April last year it was considering its own Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) following a series of crackdowns on exchanges across the country. According to a source who spoke to the Hindu Business Line “The government doesn’t want the digital currency any more. It thinks it is too early to even think about a digital currency,”
The RBI is still citing money laundering and cyber security threats as its primary reasoning for the anti-crypto stance. Most central banks have adopted this policy as it is their job to control and monitor the flow of finances to and from their respective countries.
According to the founder of cyrptocurrency exchange Belfrics, Praveen Kumar, “It is premature for RBI to launch crypto-rupee, as more understanding of the crypto economy need to be achieved. It is a right decision to delay the process and see how the publicly traded peer-to-peer economy is shaping up.”
So it seems that the new year has not been a very happy one for crypto aficionados in India where there is still no progress on adoption and acceptance.
Image from Shutterstock
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Source: New

Why India’s Strict Policy Will Have a Bigger Toll on Walmart Than Amazon

New restrictions over e-commerce businesses operating within India’s borders have raised concerns that major online retailers like Amazon and Walmart will have it “tough” in the region.
However, it’s Walmart that could be left on the ropes following this new rule change, considering Amazon’s dominance in the e-commerce space.
Walmart’s Opportunity To Beat Amazon May Be Lost Due to New India Policy
India’s Commerce and Industry Ministry has created a new landmark set of restrictions that bar global business entities such as Amazon and Walmart from selling their inventory to its customers in the Middle Eastern country. While rules preventing non-local businesses from selling products they warehouse and delivering them to customers have been in place for some time, a workaround involving local affiliates previously allowed major brands to continue to puts products in the hands of their consumers.
However, this is no longer the case under the new guidelines, which keeps companies from setting up exclusive agreements with local sellers as they have done so in the past. The new policy takes effect on February 1, so companies like Amazon and Walmart – who have invested billions of dollars to comply under previous policy – are left scrambling to find a solution.
Related Reading | Walmart Begins Selling Chocolate Candy Bitcoin
The brands are two of largest sellers of online merchandise globally, and will soon struggle to reach the consumers of India – a country that’s population represents over 17% of all people on the planet and a massive consumer-base.
The changes come at a time that will be particularly difficult for the two online retail shopping behemoths, especially for Walmart. Walmart has been feverishly working to dethrone Amazon from its role as the king of online retail, and strategies like rolling out online grocery ordering and partnering with premium fashion brand Lord and Taylor have helped grow its e-commerce revenue.
While Amazon has made significant investment in India, Walmart bought a 77% stake in India’s largest e-commerce company Flipkart for $16 billion in order to exploit a loophole in a policy that will soon been closed.
Related Reading | Walmart Explores Blockchain-Based Drone Delivery
“They have invested a lot of money based on policies that were in place, and now you’re suddenly changing them,” explained Forrester analyst Satish Meena, adding that it’s “going to be tough for Amazon and Flipkart.”
Amazon Stocks Suffer, Is It Time for Walmart To Reign Supreme Over Retail?
But it’s the added challenge Walmart now faces with its investment in Flipkart that could cause the Arkansas-based retail giant to miss out on its chance to deliver a knock out punch to Amazon, whose stock is currently experiencing its worst quarter since the 2008 recession and before the company really began to grow alongside the internet.
Amazon is among the tech stocks that have been plummeting as fears over rising interest rates and an impending global recession grow. Amazon’s stock has dropped over 27% since September – the worst quarter since Q4 2008 when the company stock fell 30%. The only larger drop Amazon has experienced was during the dot-com bubble pop, when the stock saw declines of as much as 33%.
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Source: New

Expert Opinion: Crypto Tale of Two Countries – India and China

Note: “This analysis is an adaptation from the work of Mati Greenspan, Senior Market Analyst at eToro
Key Highlights:

India and China still have a hide and seek a relationship with cryptos
Recent political and regulatory developments in India show a ray of hope
China toughens stand on cryptos as it imposes a ban on Security Token Offerings (STO)

Ray of Hope for Indian Cryptocurrency regulations
In a recent turn of events, the Indian Central Bank Governor surprised everyone by putting down his papers. Even though the Governor mentioned that he’s stepping down for personal reasons, it hasn’t stopped pundits from speculating as to why he’s leaving the post after serving the shortest term since 1992. The most common theory is that Patel was facing increased pressure from the government to employ a looser monetary policy, something he presumably was not prepared to do.
The reason why these turns of events are important for cryptos because India is by far one of the largest potential markets for crypto adoption and it was the RBI who had set up the current crypto-blockade in the first place. There is now a committee to select the next RBI Governor and this can actually be a good thing for crypto outlook in the country, depending on who they pick. Well, it can’t be worse anyway. In any case, the new Governor, whoever it may be will probably have their hands full with everything else going on anyway. As well as the finance ministry. So, unfortunately, this whole thing could get swept up in politics. However, this new progression might prove to be a wild card for crypto enthusiasts.
China steps up its rhetoric against digital assets
Meanwhile, it seems that China, the largest potential market for crypto adoption, has stepped up their rhetoric against digital assets. The People’s Bank of China is showing how on top of things they are by clarifying that STO’s (a term that has only recently gained popularity) will not be tolerated. Though there are no Chinese laws against Security Token Offerings, it seems the punishment is now banishment. The above two updates may not have much effect on short-term prices but the second one is proving to be a popular talking point on crypto social media as all leading coins continue testing the lows and searching for the floor.
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Source: CoinGape

India Receives $80 Billion in Remittance, Big Potential for Crypto?

The World Bank in its latest report revealed that India has received the largest amount in remittance in 2o18 with $80 billion being sent from abroad. At the same time, users paid $4 billion in cuts to payment services.
Middlemen-Friendly Models
Remittance in its current format has one-too-many checkpoints. If a person wants to send money from, say, New York to New Delhi, his funds are going through several intermediaries within the payment corridor. There is a local bank that would first send the funds to a banking partner in London. There the payment would wait for confirmation for a few days before making its way to the, say, Dubai, where the partner bank of the New Delhi bank is located. Add a few more days before the funds get confirmed and sent to the destined New Delhi bank account.
In the entire process, each participant takes away a considerable part of the funds. This is how traditional remittance models become too expensive for day-to-day users.
According to the World Bank, in more than 25% of the remittance corridors, commissions are more than 10% higher. So sending a $100 back home can at least cost one $10 in cuts.
Crypto in Remittance: Why India should Explore It?
The rapid speed at which the digital economy is developing promises to change the dynamics of the remittance industry as a whole. Blockchain, for instance, has opened alternative payment corridors where money can be sent as quickly as email – without paying hefty commissions. In times when people lose on average 7.45% of their money in fees, according to the World Bank, the use of blockchain could reduce the spending to as minimum as 1%.

Indian Tops Remittances in 2018.
$80bn sent back home.
$4bn paid as cost to International money transfer companies for sending this money back to India.
Adoption of crypto by India can eliminate this middlemen and save Billions for our nation.
— Crypto Kanoon (@cryptokanoon) December 9, 2018

However, India’s stance on cryptocurrencies hasn’t been entirely optimistic. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) this year issued a circular, ordering banks to discontinue relationships with crypto companies. While the decision slapped the local exchange market, it also hampered the growth of many startups that were brewing inside the blockchain space.
Indian banks, at the same time, have partnered with global blockchain initiates to build low-cost remittance solutions. That again would require them to use cryptos to settle payments. The current legal framework, according to the RBI, cannot define cryptos which again is keeping Indians from exploring a cheap remittance model.
At the same time, banks using blockchain cannot generally reduce the existing intermediaries out of a payment corridor. It can only speed up settlements at best while charging the same kind of commissions.
India can anytime explore an interbank network based on the blockchain technology after allowing a central token to be issued on it. Nevertheless, it would still require them to bring all the banks on the same page – something that looks unlikely. In simple words, if one bank works like WhatsApp and other works like Instagram, the user of WhatsApp cannot dispatch messages to the users of Instagram, i.e. they would need a single protocol in common, like NEFT on steroids.
Meanwhile, Indian remittance users could keep exploring cheaper decentralized payment models like bitcoin despite the banking ban. A good number of Indian freelancers are already accepting Bitcoins as payments and exchanging them for Indian Rupees via p2p exchanges.
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Source: New

EY to Hire 2,000 People Across Blockchain, AI in India in the Next Three Years

Ernst Young, one of the largest professional services firms in the world, will be hiring 2,000 employees in India in the next three years as part of its plan to build up its digital solution services in a number of domains including blockchain technology.
EY to Invest $1 Billion to Expand into Blockchain, AI
EY, which predicted in 2016 that large-scale implementation of blockchain technology would take at least three to five years, said in a report that companies who invest, experiment and adapt to DLT by that time will be able to reap the rewards of early adoption.
The digital services team in India will be assigned to develop blockchain projects for corporate and government customers. Other domains include analytics, automation, artificial intelligence, and tax technology, Ram Sarvepalli, EY India head of advisory services, told the Economic Times.
“There is significant capital available for new startups and big Indian companies are investing in digital,” Sarvepalli added. The government is heavily investing in digital from a citizen services perspective. Many of the traditional customer-oriented industries are trying to find models which allow access to customers to tier-two, tier-three towns from a digital perspective. There are regulatory changes like GST coming in and e-filing and automation of central and state govt departments … all of this is triggering a massive opportunity and the need for hiring digital talent.”
EY is adding about 600 employees every six months in analytics and has hired nearly 700 people in the last 18 months for digital governance jobs. Globally, the investment in new technology solutions will reach $1 billion over the next two financial years.
Related Reading: Indian Government to Draft Cryptocurrency Regulation Next Month
The company already has more than 2,200 people working on digital and technology solutions in India, with 25 percent of recruits being from a Science Technology Engineering Maths (STEM) background.
Ernst & Young (EY), one of the ‘Big Four’ public service firms, was an early adopter of blockchain technology. It has recently announced the launch of its EY Ops Chain Public Edition (PE), which allows businesses to benefit from private transactions over a public blockchain. The solution uses the zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) framework, which brings unparalleled protection during communication.
With blockchain labs in London and Paris, the firm is also developing DLT-powered tracking capabilities called EY Blockchain Private Transaction Monitor. The Indian booming economy will be able to adopt these technologies under development as EY plans to place thousands of new workers in the field over the next three years.
A business that is also booming for EY is auditing services of crypto firms. The Big Four accountancy firms, which include EY, are hiring blockchain specialists to address the new demand.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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Source: New

The Great Indian Crypto Drama: Apex Court Pushes Hearing to Q1 FY19

While the world is progressing ahead with cryptocurrencies in terms of regulations, products, and adoption, Indian regulatory bodies and the apex court have just been pushing the hearing date for the case related to Indian Central Bank’s Fiat ban for crypto businesses of making the business environment vulnerable for Indian crypto businesses.
Crypto businesses taking a hit due to the inconclusive regulatory environment
According to the recent update put forward by a Twitter user named “Crypto Kanoon”, who has been closely following the update that flies out of Apex Court in India with respect to the long-pending Indian Crypto Community vs Reserve bank of India (India’s Central Bank), the court hearing date has now been shifted to Q1 FY 19 to be precise on January 15,2019.

#TAREEKH PE TAREEKH: It is the most shared rhetoric by Crypto Community in recent times on the frequent adjournments happened in the #crypto vs. RBI.
Different people speculated the conclusion date differently but those who expected it in 2019 were right!
Next date: 15.01.2019
— Crypto Kanoon (@cryptokanoon) November 22, 2018

This means the wait for crypto businesses in India has just got longer by a month. The Indian crypto industry is already struggling without the Fiat support and the delays are just making things tough for them to survive. There have already been a couple of calamities already including one of the prominent exchanges in the country Zebpay, which couldn’t manage the falling business dye to the regulatory hurdle.
A couple of days back, Quartz India, a digital news agency, had reported that The Indian government is actively preparing a draft bill on crypto regulation, which is expected to see light this December, but now with the court hearing moved to January, the December deadline may just get extended.
Complying to previous Apex Court’ s order issued on Oct. 25  asking the government to outline its policy and specify a timeline to finalize the draft regulations., The Government of India had filed a counter-affidavit on Nov. 19, in the Supreme Court of India, to clear its stance on cryptocurrencies and the related businesses.
The documents procured by Quartz India in relation to this case stated
“…several informal meetings have been held to develop a draft law to control/ban the use of crypto-currencies in India, promote the use of blockchain technologies and also to examine (the) feasibility of official digital currencies in India.”
Indian crypto business has been remodeling the businesses to comply with the fact ban for crypto businesses that got effective from July. Not everyone has been successful with their remodeling and even the once that have bound various options to bypass this ban have struggled to generate enough interest which there prior to the ban.
Stories aside, the fate of cryptocurrencies now hangs on the Apex Court decision. Considering the market and population size, India could definitely be a game changer in terms of increasing the cryptocurrency adoption.
Will the Apex court decide in favour of crypto businesses or will the Central bank have the last laugh here? Do let us know your views on the same
The post The Great Indian Crypto Drama: Apex Court Pushes Hearing to Q1 FY19 appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

Indian Government to Draft Cryptocurrency Regulation Next Month

The Indian government is reportedly getting ready with draft regulations on cryptocurrencies next month.
The finance ministry set up a panel in November 2017 for the purpose of preparing a regulatory framework on the issue, but the central bank has created a hostile environment for digital currency trading platforms in 2018.
After a multitude of petitions filed by operators against the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) anti-crypto circular, the Supreme Court of India has ordered Narendra Modi’s government to clarify its policy in November.
India to Clarify Policy on Cryptocurrency Trading in December
A counter-affidavit produced by the Indian government and filed in the supreme court on November 19 says the finance ministry is about to draft cryptocurrency regulations next month, according to news website Quartz.
“…currently, serious efforts are going on for preparation of the draft report and the draft bill on virtual currencies, use of distributed ledger technology in (the) financial system and framework for digital currency in India. The draft report and bill will be circulated to members of IMC (inter-ministerial committee). Thereafter the next meeting of IMC will be held so that discussion can take place on the draft report and bill. It is expected that the draft report will be placed before the IMC by next month.”
The finance ministry panel is headed by Subhash Chandra Garg, a secretary in the department of economic affairs, and includes RBI deputy governor BP Kanungo and the chairman of India’s market regulator Ajay Tyagi.
The latter has said that virtual currency so far has not posed any systemic risk and is adept of distributed ledger technology. Kanungo, on the other hand, is a leading figure in the fight against cryptocurrency exchanges and is responsible for pushing many of them towards crypto-friendly countries such as Singapore.
“In view of the associated risks, it has been decided that, with immediate effect, entities regulated by RBI shall not deal with or provide services to any individual or business entities dealing with or settling VCs [virtual currencies.] Regulated entities which already provide such services shall exit the relationship within a specified time,” Kanungo said in July.
Subhash Chandra Garg, the head of the panel, took to Twitter in December 2017 to issue a statement with a somewhat unfriendly tone towards the cryptocurrency space as he likened trading in digital currencies to classical Ponzi schemes.
“Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoins are neither currency nor coin. Not legal tender in India at all. Trade in these currencies has assumed character of classical Ponzi schemes. Limited supply and uninformed demand makes every new investor assume higher risk. No underlying real value.”
A previous task force, which was set up in March 2017, recommended that consumers should stop trading cryptocurrencies and operators should be choked instead of banned. The document was attached to the government’s counter-affidavit submitted to court, but in a sealed envelope, according to Quartz, which indicates the intention of making its content unknown to the public.
Related Reading: Major Indian Crypto Exchange CEO Openly Asks Gov’t to Regulate Crypto
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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Source: New

Indian Teenager Threatens to Blow Up Miami Airport over Alleged Bitcoin Scam

An Indian teenager is in hot water after threatening to carry out a deadly attack on a U.S. international airport after he failed to receive support from the FBI in relation to an alleged Bitcoin scam.
Bitcoin Scam Leads to Volatile Situation at Miami Airport
Bitcoin’s price may be experiencing an extreme lack of volatility, however, a new report involving a Bitcoin scammer has led to some potentially explosive action.
According to a local report, an 18-year-old student from the Northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has been detained and charged by anti-terrorism authorities, after the teen made a number of deadly threats against Miami International Airport.
The teen claims that he had taken $1,000 from his father and invested in Bitcoin, turning a massive profit from his initial investment. The 18-year-old then took his earnings, and invested in what turned out to be a scam. The young man explained during his interrogation, that the “fraudster” had promised massive returns, but instead made off with all of the teen’s money.
Upset, and unsure how to go about getting his money back, the unnamed teen decided to call the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – as many as 50 times – over the last month in an attempt to seek help and bring the scammer to justice. The FBI ignored his pleas for help, however, which caused the teen to escalate the situation.

“After not getting proper response from FBI, I made calls to Miami Airport authorities and threatened an attack. I told them that I would bring AK-47s, grenades and suicide belts and blow up the airport,” the 18-year-old said, according to interrogation reports.

The teen is said to have used a fake identity and fake email account to make the threats over the internet, but he was unable to hide his tracks. The FBI sought the help of India’s National Investigation Agency to help track down the individual, and the young male was eventually picked up by the Uttar Pradesh police department’s anti-terrorism squad and is facing a number of charges.
Crypto Makes for Explosive Emotional Moments
Irrational exuberance and complete despair are two ends of an emotional rollercoaster cryptocurrency investors have been riding for the past year.
It began in mid-November, when Bitcoin’s price went parabolic and exploded to its all-time high of $20,000. Investors struck it rich, and talk of Bitcoin’s price reaching $1 million per BTC was enough to keep hopes high. Except come January, the price of all leading cryptocurrencies began to crash, and a 11-month-long bear market ensued, leaving investors at the brink of capitulation and chaos.
Due to the amount of skin investors have in the “game” and the strong emotions tied to potential wealth, the bear market has led to some scary situations and investors taking risks in order to try and recoup a portion of their losses. In addition to the story above, back in March a Chinese investor threatened to commit suicide by drinking poison in response to his Bitcoin holdings being liquidated.
Video circulated around the internet of the crazed individual holding what appears to be poison in the lobby of cryptocurrency exchange OKEx, then threatening to drink the poison if his funds weren’t promptly returned. The example is yet another case of an investor risking too much, and being unable to cope with a substantial loss.
Word to the wise: Never invest more than you can afford to lose.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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Source: New

Expert Opinion: India Still Not Clear on Cryptocurrencies While Wall Street still Stands Divided.

Note: “This analysis is an adaptation from the work of Mati Greenspan, Senior Market Analyst at eToro.”

Cryptocurrency has potential to change large economies like India, where efforts are made to push digital payments and reduce paper currency
India’s largest bank, State Bank, reduced limited of ATM withdrawals to push digital payments and reduce black money in the system
Despite the push to digital payments, there is still no clarity on the status of cryptocurrency India’s Apex court may hear against the RBI ban in Mid-November
Two of the Biggest Wall Street Banks give out divergent views on Bitcoin on its 10th Anniversary

Indian regulators puzzled on how to progress with cryptocurrencies
Regulators in India, the second most populous country and the largest democracy in the world, have not been able to make peace with the newest form of money- the Bitcoin. The country, to eliminate black money from the system, went into demonetization in 2016 which got rid of 86% of the paper notes in the country in just a few weeks. While that did eliminate the black money from the system at once, to keep the process going the country’s government is promoting digital payments under its digitization plan called Digital India.
Following the same modus operandi and progression on the same mission, the country’s largest bank, State Bank of India has reduced the daily withdrawal limit to just 20,000 Rupees ($270) a day so that there will be less unaccounted cash in the system preventing frauds and black money infusions. This reduced availability of cash would give a push to digital payments as well.
The other side of the story, while there is a visible push to the digitization of payments, the country is still confused about how should it progress with cryptocurrencies. While the Reserve Bank of India has imposed a sweeping ban on all crypto assets, the Apex Court about to give a decision on the same. The court has asked the government to submit their side of the case before a decision is pronounced in for mid-November.  The hopes are pretty high that they decide will come in favor of cryptocurrencies, but still, implementation and building a regulation for the country’s regulators will be a daunting task- especially to make cryptocurrencies and centralized digital payment comes to operate in tandem
Here comes the challenge for the government as Crypto advocates in India continue to lobby the government and hope for a ruling in their favor, and if that happens parties in charge of digital payments in the country stand to lose a lot if crypto assets are made legal.
The great Wall Street is divided on cryptos     
While that’s the India story, in the US, the Wall Street still stands divided on cryptocurrencies. On the 10th anniversary of Bitcoin, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley gave divergent views on the Bitcoin. While Morgan Stanley sees cryptocurrency moving towards being an institutional asset class, JP Morgan’s says he doesn’t really give a s**t about it.
The post Expert Opinion: India Still Not Clear on Cryptocurrencies While Wall Street still Stands Divided. appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

Indian Ministry of Finance Keeping a Close Watch on Crypto Sector Development

India’s Ministry of Finance recently published a press release where it talks about the 19th Meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) attended by the prominent ministry members that deliberated on the crypto development, ban on crypto use among other finance related topics.
Deliberation on issues and challenges of Crypto Assets/Currency
In the latest document released by the Ministry of Finance, Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) deliberates about creating a framework for banning the use of cryptocurrencies and shifting the focus on distributed blockchain technology (DLT).
The press release states,
“19th Meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) held under the Chairmanship of the Union Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley reviewed the current global and domestic economic situation and financial sector performance; The Council decided that the Regulators and the Government would keep a close watch on the developing situation and take all necessary measures.”
The nineteenth meeting of the FSDC that was chaired by Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley discussed the current performance of the financial sector on both domestic and global level.
The meeting was attended by a number of members from prominent ministries viz. Dr. Urjit R. Patel, Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI); Dr. Hasmukh Adhia, Finance Secretary and Secretary, Department of Revenue; Shri Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs; Shri Rajiv Kumar, Secretary, Department of Financial Services; Shri Injeti Srinivas, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs; Shri Ajay Prakash Sawhney Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology; Shri Ajay Tyagi, Chairman, Securities and Exchange Board of India; Shri Subhash Chandra Khuntia, Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India; Shri Hemant G. Contractor, Chairman, Pension Fund  Regulatory and Development Authority; Dr. M. S. Sahoo, Chairperson, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India along with other senior officers of the Government of India and Financial Sector Regulators.
The press release states,
“The Council also deliberated on the issues and challenges of Crypto Assets/Currency and was briefed about the deliberations in the High-level Committee chaired by the Secretary (Economic Affairs) to devise an appropriate legal framework to ban use of private cryptocurrencies in India and encouraging the use of Distributed Ledger Technology, as announced in the Budget 2018-19.”
The council also noted the developments about strengthening of cybersecurity in the financial sector along with deliberating on the need for identifying and securing critical information infrastructure in the financial sector.
The post Indian Ministry of Finance Keeping a Close Watch on Crypto Sector Development appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

Unocoin Founder Recounts His Arrest Following Indian Crackdown on Bitcoin ATMs

Just one week ago, Indian officials arrested the co-founder of an Indian cryptocurrency exchange, Unocoin, for operating a Bitcoin ATM kiosk which the police called “illegal”. One of Unocoin’s co-founders has now given a recount of his arrest in a recent interview.
The Unocoin co-founder’s arrests were largely publicized and was seen by many as the Indian government’s way of flexing their muscles against the cryptocurrency industry, which they have been at war with since they first barred crypto exchanges from engaging in banking relationships earlier this year.
On October 23, Harish BV, one of the co-founders, was arrested at the Kemp Fort Mall in the southern city of Bengaluru just a week after Unocoin had installed, what it has advertised as, India’s first-ever Bitcoin ATM. Harish was working on the ATM and making sure that all the systems were flawless and fully operational before it went live.
Indian Government Not Wanting Exchanges to Bypass Ban Via Bitcoin ATMs
The ATM was unique in that it was meant to be a fiat gateway for Indian cryptocurrency investors looking to trade cryptocurrencies, as they could deposit funds that could in turn be used to trade cryptocurrency on the Unocoin platform. Users would also be given the opportunity to withdraw funds from their account.
Harish said that the operational tests and upgrades were in their final stages when police entered the mall and took him in for questioning. After questioning, they took him into custody, claiming that the ATM had violated Indian law as it lacked the required approvals.
The next day, Sathvik Vishwanath, another Unocoin co-founder, was also arrested by the police.
The kiosk cleverly exploited a loophole in the government’s so-called “cryptocurrency ban”, as it allowed investors to deposit and withdraw funds by removing the banking middle-man. The arrests were likely the governments way of saying that they will not tolerate exchanges utilizing any loopholes to bypass the banking relations ban.
After posting bail, Vishwanath recounted the situation to Quartz India, saying:
“I knew this was coming after Harish was charged. I was at home that morning, trying to figure out what needs to be done to get Harish out of police custody, when the officials came to my house. They took me for questioning and later I was also charged and sent to judicial custody.”
He also noted that the police had unfoundedly accused his exchange of duping customers, saying that he had “promised 2x returns” and was “trying to cheat customers”. Vishwanath noted that his exchange has never made any such promises to their clients, and that they have never received a complaint regarding anything of the sort.
The police’s cybercrime department also spoke about the arrests, saying that the exchange had not received permission from the state government to operate the kiosk, and further noted that they were operating “outside the remit of the law”.
Swaroop Anand, the lawyer representing the Unocoin co-founders, spoke about why the government’s actions were not justified, saying that the mall in which the kiosk was located would have already received the necessary approval and licensing to hold a kiosk of this sort.
“It is a kiosk that is being set inside the mall and the mall would have had already taken trade permissions. Therefore, there was no need for Unocoin to take any other permission and there had not been any violation of licence requirements.”
It still remains to be seen whether or not the police will begin arresting other cryptocurrency exchange executives on baseless charges in an effort to censor the industry.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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Source: New