Ripple CEO calls out India for reconsidering crypto ban

India’s “will-they-won’t-they” relationship with crypto is stifling the Indian crypto industry, Garlinghouse claims

Image of a busy street in Kolkata, India
Many citizens in India do not have access to banking services

Brad Garlinghouse, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ripple, has chimed in on India’s efforts to bring back the imposition of a ban on cryptocurrency trading.

“Disappointing to see India flip flop on crypto, hamstringing a nascent industry which could serve one of the biggest populations of unbanked/underbanked citizens,” he posted on Twitter.

His tweet features a post made by Bloomberg Crypto, which reveals that India has differentiated itself from its Asian peers by considering a new law that will ban trade on crypto.

India has had a complicated relationship with cryptocurrency for several years. In 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) first introduced a banking ban on cryptocurrency exchanges. However, it was lifted by the Supreme Court of India on March 4 of this year.

Following the revocation of the ban, local exchanges saw a staggering 450 percent uptick in trading volumes within India. The local crypto industry hoped that the ruling would quash proposals to ban the nascent industry. However, this proposed bill has the potential to erase whatever progress has been accrued in the past few months.

Garlinghouse also highlighted the capacity for cryptocurrency to serve unbanked and underbanked citizens in India. According to a study conducted by the World Bank, India has approximately 190 million unbanked adults. This makes the country second only to China among developing countries when it comes to the number of residents who do not have bank accounts or who do not participate in the formal financial sector.

Despite the bill’s stance against trading in cryptocurrencies, it does acknowledge and place priority on the importance of blockchain innovations in supply chain management, educational certificates and land registration.

The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, even highlighted the importance of blockchain technology alongside 5G and big data during his speech in the India Ideas Summit.

“For the first time ever in India, there are more rural internet users than urban internet users. Half a billion total people connected in India. Opportunities in 5G, big data analytics, blockchain, IoT,” he stated.

The CEO of local crypto exchange Wazirx, Nischal Shetty, holds out on the hope that the Prime Minister would not want to stop the growth of the emerging industry.

“Innovative technology will always be seen negatively by those who do not understand it … How would anyone think/talk of banning a technology that cannot technically be banned?” he added.