India’s Supreme Court is seemingly as fed up as Bitcoin holders with the government’s delays in producing cryptocurrency legislation following years of indecision. The court has several pending crypto-related court cases but needs official guidance if it is to make proper decisions, otherwise it risks setting precedents before official guidelines have been issued.
Guidelines Running Late
Earlier this month it was revealed that a group had been appointed to work on cryptocurrency guidelines following a second interdisciplinary committee meeting on the matter, including two members of the G20 and FATF working group meetings on regulating cryptocurrencies. This group had been tasked with submitting the proposal by the end of February, but the Supreme Court’s order, and the fact that February is almost over, suggests that they are still far from delivering the proposal in time. In tandem with this, a Twitter poll from the user who broke the news suggested that even this deadline was unlikely to be met:
Supreme Court of India has given a final opportunity to the Union of India to bring about a policy on crypto in 4 weeks time.
Do you think Indian government will bring policy within 4 weeks?
— Crypto Kanoon (@cryptokanoon) February 25, 2019
Is India Warming to Crypto?
India issued its first warning on Bitcoin in 2013, ever since when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has taken a cautious view of cryptocurrencies. Despite never outright banning them it has maintained a hardline attitude, stipulating that Bitcoin could not be declared a legal currency, a stance that has toughened in recent years, with banks banned from handling assets derived from cryptocurrencies in July 2018.
There have been suggestions that India is softening its stance and losing its fear of digital assets, but nothing will be confirmed until the report arrived, whenever that might be.