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India's Crypto Ban: A Step Forward or Backward?

"I like the line: Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come. And that idea, for now, is blockchain. Crypto and Web 3.0 are the applications of blockchain technology. In the future, most of the things will be powered by blockchain as it is a ‌ different way of looking at things".- Saket Modi,founder of safe security.

Cryptocurrency, also known as digital or virtual currency, has gained immense popularity in the past few years. Its decentralized nature, anonymity, and security have made it an attractive alternative to traditional fiat currency. However, the regulatory landscape surrounding cryptocurrencies is still in its early stages of development. Governments across the world are grappling with the challenge of regulating this new and disruptive technology.

Cryptocurrencies have become a global phenomenon in recent years, with the most well-known being Bitcoin. These digital currencies are based on blockchain technology, which offers a decentralized and secure way of recording transactions.

The concept of cryptocurrency can be traced back to 1983, when American cryptographer David Chaum created an anonymous cryptographic electronic money called eCash. However, it wasn't until 2009 that the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was introduced by an unknown person or group using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.

The purpose of Bitcoin was to create a decentralized, digital currency that would not be subject to government or financial institution control. Transactions are recorded on a public ledger called the blockchain, which uses cryptography to ensure its security and prevent fraudulent activity.

Bitcoin quickly gained popularity among early adopters, who saw it as a way to conduct anonymous transactions and avoid government surveillance. Its value also began to rise rapidly, reaching over $19,000 in December 2017.

Since then, numerous other cryptocurrencies have been developed, including Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin. Each cryptocurrency has its own unique features and uses, but they all share the basic principles of decentralization and blockchain technology.

The purpose of cryptocurrencies has evolved over time, with some being used primarily for investment purposes and others for actual transactions. Many businesses now accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment for goods and services, and some countries have even created their own digital currencies.

One of the main benefits of cryptocurrencies is that they offer greater security and privacy than traditional payment methods. Transactions are anonymous and cannot be traced back to individual users, which is especially important for those who live in countries with repressive governments or who are concerned about their financial privacy.

Another benefit of cryptocurrencies is that they are not subject to government or financial institution control. This means that they cannot be manipulated or inflated by governments, and they offer an alternative to traditional banking systems.

Despite these benefits, cryptocurrencies have faced numerous challenges over the years. They are often criticized for being used in illegal activities such as money laundering and drug trafficking, and their value can be highly volatile.lack of regulation and oversight in the cryptocurrency market. Unlike traditional financial assets, cryptocurrencies are not backed by any central authority or government, making them difficult to control and monitor. This lack of regulation has led to concerns about the potential for illicit activities such as money laundering, terrorist financing, and tax evasion.

Despite these concerns, there are also potential benefits to the adoption of cryptocurrencies in India. For example, cryptocurrencies could offer a low-cost and efficient way to conduct cross-border transactions, particularly for those who do not have access to traditional banking services. Additionally, the use of cryptocurrencies could help to promote financial inclusion and empower individuals who are currently underserved by the traditional financial system.

This article will conduct a comparative study of cryptocurrency laws in USA and India.

America's legal position on crypto currency.

The United States is home to many of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Coinbase and Kraken. The legal framework surrounding cryptocurrencies in the US is complex and evolving. In general, the US government has taken a cautious approach to regulating cryptocurrencies, with a focus on preventing money laundering and terrorist financing.

The US government has classified cryptocurrencies as property for tax purposes, meaning that any gains or losses from cryptocurrency transactions are subject to capital gains tax. Additionally, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires taxpayers to report any cryptocurrency transactions on their tax returns. Failure to do so can result in fines or even criminal charges.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the US. ICOs are a popular way for startups to raise funds by selling tokens to investors. The SEC has stated that many ICOs may be considered securities and subject to federal securities laws. This has led to a decrease in the number of ICOs being launched in the US.

US Regulations on Crypto

As of my knowledge cutoff date in 2021, the United States has various regulations on cryptocurrencies, and these regulations continue to evolve as the cryptocurrency industry expands and becomes more mainstream.

One of the main regulatory bodies overseeing cryptocurrency in the US is the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which is responsible for enforcing anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CFT) laws. FinCEN requires cryptocurrency exchanges and other virtual currency businesses to register with the agency and comply with various AML/CFT requirements.

In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken a more active role in regulating cryptocurrencies, particularly initial coin offerings (ICOs). The SEC has stated that many ICOs may be considered securities offerings, and therefore subject to the same regulations as traditional securities. This includes registering with the SEC and complying with disclosure and investor protection requirements.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) also regulates certain types of cryptocurrencies, particularly those that are classified as commodities. The CFTC has taken action against companies offering fraudulent cryptocurrency schemes and has also established guidelines for cryptocurrency derivatives trading.

Crypto case laws in USA

There have been several notable court cases related to cryptocurrency in the United States.

Here are a few examples:
SEC v. Ripple: In December 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against Ripple Labs, Inc. alleging that the company had conducted an unregistered securities offering through its sale of XRP tokens. The case is ongoing, but in March 2021, Ripple won a significant victory when the court granted its motion to compel the SEC to produce internal documents related to its classification of cryptocurrency as a security.

United American Corp. v. Bitmain, et al.: In 2018, United American Corp. (UAC) filed a lawsuit against several major cryptocurrency companies, including Bitmain,, and Roger Ver, alleging that they had colluded to manipulate the Bitcoin Cash network. The case is ongoing, but in February 2021, a judge denied the defendants' motion to dismiss the case, allowing it to proceed.

United States v. Griffith: In 2019, the US government arrested Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith on charges of violating US sanctions against North Korea. The government alleged that Griffith had traveled to North Korea to give a presentation on cryptocurrency, and had provided technical advice on how the country could use it to evade sanctions. Griffith pleaded not guilty and the case is ongoing.

USA v. Harmon: In February 2021, the US government announced that it had arrested Larry Dean Harmon, the operator of the cryptocurrency mixing service Helix, on charges of money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. The case is ongoing, but the government alleges that Harmon facilitated over $300 million in transactions on behalf of darknet marketplaces and other criminal enterprises.

These are just a few examples of the many court cases related to cryptocurrency that have taken place in the United States in recent years. The legal landscape for cryptocurrency remains complex and rapidly evolving, and it is likely that there will be many more cases in the future as regulators and law enforcement agencies grapple with this new and rapidly changing technology.

Overall, the regulatory environment for cryptocurrencies in the US is still developing and is likely to continue to evolve as the industry grows and new challenges arise. It is important for anyone involved in the cryptocurrency industry to stay informed about the latest regulatory developments and to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

India's position on crypto

Cryptocurrency regulations in India have been a topic of discussion and debate for several years. The Indian government and regulatory bodies have taken various measures to regulate and control the use of cryptocurrencies in the country.

In 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a circular banning all regulated entities from dealing with or providing services to individuals or businesses dealing in cryptocurrencies. This circular caused a lot of controversy and was challenged in the Supreme Court of India. In March 2020, the Supreme Court overturned the ban, stating that it was unconstitutional and violative of the fundamental rights of citizens.

Since then, the Indian government has been working on a new regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. In January 2021, a bill was introduced in the Parliament, called "The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021". The bill aims to ban all private cryptocurrencies in India and establish a framework for the creation of an official digital currency, to be issued by the RBI.

The bill proposes to create a framework for the RBI to issue a digital currency, which will be a legal tender and backed by the government. It also proposes to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India, except for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology and its use cases. The bill defines private cryptocurrencies as any cryptocurrency that is not issued by the government.

The proposed bill has been met with mixed reactions from the cryptocurrency community in India. Some argue that it will stifle innovation and growth in the sector, while others believe that it will provide much-needed clarity and legitimacy to the industry.

In conclusion, the Indian government is currently in the process of formulating a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, and the proposed bill seeks to ban all private cryptocurrencies in the country while establishing a framework for an official digital currency. The bill is yet to be passed by the Parliament and is subject to further amendments and debates.

Banning cryptocurrency will push us back from the USA and other countries like Switzerland, Canada etc. So instead of banning it is better to regulate like other countries are doing. We need to make laws regarding cryptocurrency, banning is an extreme step and will be a barrier to development. We must leverage the power of web 3.0.

Written By: Ayush Kumar a student of B.B.A L.LB (H) from Netaji Subhas University, Jamshedpur.

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