When it comes to cryptocurrencies, India is a bit baffled. Both the central bank of India and the Narendra Modi government have made it abundantly clear that they don’t plan on embracing digital currencies, but is trading in virtual money such as bitcoins actually against the law? With the incredible rise in popularity and worth bitcoin has been experiencing over the last few months, we thought it was about time someone took a look at just how bitcoins work in India.
Towards the end of last year on November 30, India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley claimed that the country would not be recognizing cryptocurrencies as legal tender anytime soon. This was in response to bitcoin’s rising value, which was attracting investors – including Indian ones – at an incredible rate. The day before Jaitley’s announcement a single bitcoin was worth over $11,000, having doubled in value over the space of just one month.
You see, many other countries around the world have embraced cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin having discovered its many benefits when compared to traditional money. Even experienced companies such as Microsoft, Expedia, and Virgin have adopted bitcoin, while entirely new businesses such as online luxury bitcoin marketplaces and bitcoin casinos have gained incredible popularity around the world. For example, bitcoin casino Bitcasino.io is able to offer everything a traditional-currency iGaming platform can, as well as complimentary bitcoins which you can have just for signing up – new players can get up to m฿ 1,000 welcome packages and enjoy more than 1,300 games including slots, blackjack and live casino games.
Meanwhile, eCommerce providers like Bit Dials are selling everything from real estate and yachts to sports cars and luxury watches using bitcoins. If these established companies and their tech-savvy customers trust bitcoin, then why shouldn’t the Indian government and central bank?
Approximately one month after Arun Jaitley’s initial speech, the Indian government further cemented their position regarding cryptocurrencies by warning the public against investing in bitcoin, claiming that it has no legal backing. Just a few days into the new year, Jaitley chimed in stating that anyone who does invest in bitcoin has been warned and they part with their money at their own risk.
Fortunately, trading in bitcoins isn’t illegal in India, it’s simply not legal tender. Not being legal tender and being illegal is not the same thing at all, which is why there are so many forward-thinking Indians ready to embrace bitcoin. COO of Coinsecure Jincy Samuel has pointed out that it would be better for the government to introduce taxation norms or laws if they’re so worried about fraudulent schemes, while co-founder and CEO of Unocoin Sathvik Vishwanath state that the government has been saying the same thing since 2013 with no changes.
While it’s true that there cannot be absolute certainty as to whether bitcoin will keep its value, it is still a viable currency for millions of people around the world. As of writing this piece, there are no actual regulations in place throughout India that mark bitcoins as illegal, the government just repeats their claim that they are a high-risk investment. So, at least for now Indians can absolutely use bitcoins as much as they please and perhaps in time, the government will begin to recognize them as well. Check out the history of bitcoin how it started and who has started.