India’s Supreme Court has brushed Bitcoin legislation under the carpet again, after it delayed a ruling on the cryptocurrency’s legal status until the middle of July following months of delays and years of indecision. Crypto vs RBI has now been delayed for another three and a half months following a request from a higher authority to push the case back, after the Supreme Court had demanded a resolution by the end of February.
Update in #CryptoVsRBI!
Supreme Court has adjourned the #CryptoVsRBI matter on the request of Government’s Counsel. Matter fixed for final arguments in 2nd week of July on a non-miscellaneous (Regular) day.
— Crypto Kanoon (@cryptokanoon) March 29, 2019
Consultation Proves Inconclusive
Two interdisciplinary meetings, the first in 2017 and the second last year, were followed by a period of consultation with a handpicked group to try and thrash out a proposal that could be put to the country’s legislators, a group that included two officials that are part of the G20 and FATF working group meetings on regulating cryptocurrencies in Europe. In December last year one of the officials was quoted as saying that, “There is a general consensus that cryptocurrency cannot be dismissed as completely illegal. It needs to be legalized with strong riders.”
At this second meeting, a deadline of February was proposed for at least a common direction to be outlined, if not the makings of an actual regulatory framework. This deadline came and went however, with the main concerns of those objecting to Bitcoin’s legalization doing so on the basis of its potential to rival the rupee as the country’s foremost currency.
More Deadline, More Delays
As February turned into March, the Supreme Court demanded a decision “within four weeks” to allow them to properly deal with a number of pending cryptocurrency cases. This deadline passed with no resolution in place, and Friday saw a request from the Government’s Counsel to adjourn matters, which the Supreme Court did, with final arguments now due by the second week in July.
The RBI ordered local financial institutions to stop interacting with crypto businesses in July 2018, meaning that by the time the hearings are (theoretically) held, the ban will have been in place for over a year without any definitive statement on the legality or otherwise of the asset class. The situation is undoubtedly a confusing one for businesses and individuals alike, with street protests planned to push for legalization of Bitcoin and other cryptos.