Indian cryptonians were on edge today as the Supreme Court was to decide on whether a crypto banking ban by the Indian Central Bank has legal standing.
It appears, however, the Supreme Court was far too busy with another case which went considerably over the estimated time.
The crypto case was thus first adjourned to the late afternoon, with it then put off to tomorrow as the other case had not finished.
That means Indian cryptonians have to bear another 24 hours before the Supreme Court makes quite an historic decision on the level of freedom citizens of the world’s second biggest democracy can enjoy.
No democracy on earth has banned cryptos, nor has any democracy implemented any crypto banking blockade. Only the authoritative Central Bank of China has done so and now the Central Bank of India.
Indian exchanges have taken the latter to court, arguing their diktat is unconstitutional. According to Quartz, they rely on:
“Article 19(1) (g) of the Indian constitution that allows citizens to enjoy the right to carry on any occupation, trade, or business, and article 14 that prohibits discrimination and mandates equal protection under the law for all.”
The central bank there is arguing their ban is to protect investors as cryptos are too volatile. Yet part of that volatility recently was due to the central bank as it has forced one of India’s biggest exchange, ZebPay, to close the Indian Rupee trading pair.
That led to a flash sell-off of ethereum and bitcoin on September the 5th when the trading pair was closed with the central bank perhaps solely to blame for recently harming global investors rather than protecting them.
The bank has further argued that the lack of financial surveillance means cryptos can be used by criminals, with exchanges arguing they apply identification requirements that can shed some light on transactions which have now gone peer to peer and are even more difficult to surveil.
That may increase the illegal use of cryptos, the exchanges argue, something the bank has itself admitted. Criminals moreover use the Indian Rupee far more than cryptos, with banks often quite complacent if not assisting in such usage.
The real reason for the ban may however have to do with capital controls as India was seeing high inflation rates of 12% or more, which have recently come down.
So making the outcome of this case quite difficult to predict as while the constitutional argument is fairly strong, the court has not provided a temporary stay on the crypto ban until they make their decision, something which would be expected as of right.
So perhaps betraying the court’s bias, with the decision having significant repercussions in potentially allowing the weaponization of banking access, something which may considerably limit freedom and may usurp the role of parliament.
Image courtesy of Crypto Kanoon.