As cryptocurrency exchanges eagerly await the RBI ban ruling, a government agency has proposed using virtual currencies as payment for legalized gambling services in India.
What a great week for Bitcoin! It broke through the $8,000 barrier and is taking the lion’s share of market dominance. Now, according to Quartz India, there’s another reason to celebrate – cryptocurrencies could soon be seen as a viable medium of exchange in the country! Well, in the gambling industry at least.
If you thought that India had a tenuous relationship with virtual currencies, you should take a look at their gambling industry. There are, of course, cases of allowed betting but things take a dodgy turn when it comes to sports betting. Because it is an illegal practice in India, people, as they often do, have found ways around the law. This has resulted in a very profitable underground gambling industry.
Virtual Currencies for the Win
This might change if the country’s law commission can persuade the Indian government to legalize sports betting, and allow gamblers to pay in cryptocurrency. A report from the commission stated:
Gambling transactions should be made cashless, making use of electronic means of payment such as credit cards, debit cards, net-banking, virtual currencies (VC, or cryptocurrency), etc.
Their findings have been submitted for review to the Supreme Court of India.
This statement is similar to what Nischal Shetty, founder and CEO of exchange WazirX exchange said earlier this month:
If banking is something the exchanges are not allowed to do, then the solution is something that direct banking doesn’t come in.
Shetty was, of course, referring to the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) cryptocurrency ban where the financial institution has prohibited banks from dealing with virtual currencies in any way. While hope springs eternal in the form of an appeal against the ban, cryptocurrency traders and enthusiasts in the country will have to wait until September to hear the verdict.
Could Recognition Lead to Adoption in India?
With regard to the law commission’s findings, Shetty said:
It is the first time that a body appointed by the government has given recognition to virtual currencies that they have value and can be used for a transaction. Therefore, it is a very positive sign, especially considering the report has come out after a lot of deliberation.
Tuhina Joshi, an associate at TRA, had this to say:
The law commission recommends that regulating gambling is preferable to an outright ban. This is the same argument we are making in [the] context of cryptocurrencies.
The law firm represents many exchanges in the country.
Perhaps legalizing gambling in India could be the catalyst for recognizing virtual currencies as legal tender in the country.
How would a positive response to the commission’s findings affect the RBI ban and India’s cryptocurrency industry in general? Let us know in the comments below!
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