Zebpay, Coindelta, CoinRecoil, and Koinex are some of the cryptocurrency exchanges that have been relegated to the ash heaps of the Indian government’s crackdown against the growing domestic digital assets industry.
Possibly one of the harshest crypto-critics, both in voice and practice, the Indian government made its intentions clear to the industry. However, Kunal Barchha, Co-founder and CEO of CoinRecoil, is the first victim of this onslaught to respond to New Delhi’s actions.
CoinRecoil was one of the exchanges to succumb to the regulatory shackles of the Reserve Bank of India [RBI] and the country’s legislative body. Its CEO has now voiced his opinion and that of the larger Indian cryptocurrency community in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and newly-appointed Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The crux of the letter is an appeal to the political elite to reconsider and renounce their possible ban on cryptocurrencies.
Emphasizing the “deafening silence” on the prospects of the domestic cryptocurrency industry, specifically, the regulatory atmosphere surrounding it, Barchha stated that the government’s actions are curtailing the growth of the crypto-startup sector. However, he suggested that concerns over money laundering and terror financing may be occupying the minds of the authorities.
Citing the lax regulatory constraints on his stock-counterparts, especially with reference to the growing number of large-scale financial scams plaguing India, the crypto-start-up founder hit back at the RBI’s imbalanced regulatory nature.
“Thousands of crores are lost in the last few years, as a few companies either defaulted, or their promoters ran away. Where was investor’s interest? Who is accountable for thousands of crores of investor’s money. Banks recovered all those money from average citizens by charging them ridiculous penalties.”
According to the last census, the average age of the Indian populace is 27.8 years, while that of their elected representatives in the lower house of the parliament, the Lok Sabha, is over 57 years. Hence, a disparity in age and action is evident. Barchha referenced the same, stating that there is a “huge generation gap between technology and brains.”
Governments, the world over, view accepting cryptocurrency trading as a form of relinquishing sovereign control. Fiat being converted to decentralized currency is fundamental to the ‘shackles’ being loosened, with the Libertarian line of ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ coming to the fore.
He also brought forth the principle of the above, adding that a trader should be able to deal in whatever financial assets they would like, without the government having a say. He ridiculed the touted concern of ‘terror financing’ using cryptos, as the slew of administrative intricacies surrounding the exchange process will certainly not lure in anyone who aims to finance terrorist activities.
Barchha added that despite the ban, cryptocurrency trading will persist and cryptocurrency exchanges will never be the sought-out option for criminals. A ban will only result in the creation of a “parallel crypto-economy,” instead of a financial purge. He said,
“And let me tell you this with all honesty, if there is a ban, I bet on my words, it will create a lot more headache for government than for the investors. Honest traders and investors already have many ways to circumvent that ban and buy bitcoin for long-term growth.”
This “parallel crypto-economy” cannot be tracked by the central bank or regulators as it will use the back channels of the internet, messaging applications, and exchanges, resulting in a complete blackout of transactions and account information to the authorities.
He appealed to the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister to keep an “open mind,” and move away from the “rigid attitude” that has brought the Indian cryptocurrency industry to an utter standstill. With interest, investment, and innovation in the digital assets industry on a rise, Barchha concluded that the Indian economy should not miss out on this golden opportunity.
“If you really wish to promote startup culture and Digital India initiative, every single minister, every single government body should be completely open-minded. You cannot restrict innovation to one’s comfort zone. If you keep doing the same thing every day, you get the same results every day.”