It is no news that the Indian government frowns at cryptocurrency and anything related to digital assets, and that recently included Facebook’s crypto, Libra and its Calibra wallet, which have been surrounded by so many controversies recently.
Days after Indian government officials publicly expressed discomfort with Facebook plans concerning its cryptocurrency Libra and were looking to slap it down, as reported by CCN, Facebook has come out expressly to say that they have no plans to offer Libra or its digital wallet Calibra to India or its largest market.
According to reports from Economic Times, a Facebook spokesman stated that due to Indian’s harsh anti-cryptocurrency laws that it will be unwise to consider launching Calibra in the country.
He stated that:
As you may know, there are local restrictions within India that made a launch of Calibra not possible at this time.
Earlier this week, Indian’s Economic Affairs Secretary, Subhash Garg, has said that Facebook’s libra was unlikely to get a go-ahead from the government. He went forward to also say that Libra would likely meet the harsh rejection as other cryptocurrencies in the country.
” Design of the Facebook currency has not been fully explained. But whatever it is, it would be a private cryptocurrency and that’s not something we have been comfortable with. ” He said.
From the beginning of 2018, India has taken steps that affected its cryptocurrency sector negatively. They even went forward to order banks under its regulatory scope to shun all crypto-related services or business in the country. And so far this has forced crypto-related business in the country to scale down or stop operations. Some that couldn’t withstand the harsh laws had to move abroad.
After ZebPay was forced to shut down its services and relocated abroad to continue its operations due to these unfavorable anti-crypto laws in India that affected the firm, It should be recalled that last month, another Indian’s popular crypto exchange Koinex followed the same footsteps of its counterpart ZebPay as they also shut down operations last month just as it was nearing its Anniversary.
Since Koinex shut down, they haven’t said anything yet about relocating to Europe unlike Zebpay whom after shutting down its operations in India, resumed operations in Malta where it serves 22 European countries from.
More also, besides the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) restricting its banks from crypto-related business, recent reports have surfaced that there is a proposed pieces of laws termed the ‘Banning of Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies Bill 2019’, that is aimed at prohibiting and criminalizing cryptocurrency sales, mining, buying and even holding. The draft regulation is said to have a proposed jail term of up to ten years for anyone caught engaging in any of the above-mentioned cryptocurrency activities.
Though the law has not been enforced, it is already having a negative effect on Indian’s crypto sector as Koinex CEO, Rahul Raj, recently revealed that the law is one of the reasons the exchange decided to shut down its services in the country as it caused drop in trading activities because users feared the punishment included in the proposed law.
Nothing is impossible they say, but the Indian government doesn’t believe that especially when it involves cryptocurrency or its activities.