In a historic judgment passed today, India’s Supreme Court has lifted the ban on crypto trading in India. In 2018, the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), banned cryptocurrencies. Today’s order from the apex court reverses that ruling, much to the joy of crypto traders.
At the time, RBI said the move was necessary to curb “ring-fencing” of the country’s financial system. It had also argued that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies cannot be treated as currencies as they are not made of metal or exist in physical form, nor were they stamped by the government.
The 2018 notice from the central bank sent a panic to several local startups and companies offering services to trade in cryptocurrency. Nearly all of them have since shut shop.
In the ruling today, the bench, headed by Justice Rohinton F Nariman, overruled central bank’s circular on the grounds of disproportionality.
A group of petitioners including trade body the Internet and Mobile Association of India had challenged central bank’s circular, in part, arguing that India should look at most other nations that are not only allowing cryptocurrency trading, but have moved to launch their own virtual currencies.
Nitin Sharma, a tech investor, said the top court’s ruling was “historic” as it finally brought some clarity to the matter.
Top crypto services in India such as Zebpay and WazirX hailed the decision on Twitter.
“Historic day for Crypto in India. We can now innovate. The entire country can participate in the Blockchain revolution,” said Nischal Shetty, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bitcoin exchange platform WazirX.