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India To Block URLs Of Major Crypto Exchanges




According to a report from Blockworks, India's Financial Intelligence Unit has reportedly requested the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to block the URLs of nine cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. The move comes as part of a crackdown on illegal activities involving digital assets.


The recent request has sparked interest in the crypto community. The exchanges in question include Binance, Kraken, Huobi, Kucoin, Bittrex, Gate.io, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, and MEXC Global. The request was made on the grounds that these virtual asset service providers (VASP) were "operating illegally" and did not comply with the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.


India has been making efforts to integrate the crypto industry with its traditional finance sector. In March, it mandated that cryptocurrency companies collect know-your-customer (KYC) information. It also required crypto firms to register with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).


The decision to block these exchanges has raised concerns about the future of cryptocurrency trading in India, as many investors have turned to these platforms for trading and investing in digital currencies. The move is seen as a significant setback for the crypto industry in India, which has been facing regulatory challenges over the past few years.


According to recent regulations in India, any virtual asset service provider (VASP) with operations in the country, whether they are based onshore or offshore, must register with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) as a reporting entity. In addition, they must abide by the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.


While there are currently 31 entities registered with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in India, there have been concerns about offshore entities that cater to a substantial part of Indian users but have not been registered, and therefore not come under the Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Financing of Terrorism (CFT) framework.


The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in India has reportedly issued "show cause notices" to the nine virtual asset service providers (VASPs) that were recently blocked. However, it is unclear what other ramifications these companies will face for failing to register, other than having their URLs blocked.


In August, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed the need for global regulation of the cryptocurrency industry. He highlighted the risks associated with digital assets and called for a coordinated effort to regulate them.




“The rules, regulations and framework around it should not belong to one country or a group of countries. So not only crypto, but all emerging technologies need a global framework and regulations,” Modi said. 




India's stance on cryptocurrencies has been a topic of much debate and scrutiny in recent times. One of the major points of contention has been the high capital gains tax imposed on crypto profits, which stands at a staggering 30%. This tax rate is significantly higher than that imposed on other investments, such as equities. This has resulted in a less-than-welcoming environment for the crypto industry in India. It remains to be seen how the regulatory landscape will evolve in the coming years and whether there will be any changes to the current tax regime.


In addition to the high tax rate on crypto gains, the Reserve Bank of India's governor has taken a negative stance on cryptocurrencies, referring to them as "speculative gambling activities". This has added to the uncertainty surrounding the regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies in India. It is worth noting, however, that not all players in the Indian financial sector share this view. Some have expressed optimism for the potential benefits of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, and have called for a more balanced approach to regulation. The future of cryptocurrencies in India remains uncertain, but it is clear that the country's policies and regulations will have a significant impact on the industry's development and adoption in the region.




Despite the Indian government's negative stance on cryptocurrencies, the country has emerged as a leader in grassroots crypto adoption, according to a report by Chainalysis earlier this year.




The report found that India has the highest grassroots adoption score among all countries in the world, indicating a strong interest and demand for cryptocurrencies among the general public.


Additionally, India is the second-largest crypto market by raw estimated transaction volume, indicating that despite the regulatory challenges, there is significant activity in the crypto industry in the country. It remains to be seen how the government will respond to this trend, and whether there will be any changes to the current regulatory framework to accommodate the growing demand for cryptocurrencies among Indian citizens.


It’s yet to be seen how these events will impact the overall cryptocurrency market in India. However, it is clear that the Indian government is taking a strong stance against illegal activities involving digital assets, and is taking steps to ensure that cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country comply with the law.


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