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Asian Giants’, China and India’s Legal Stance on Cryptocurrencies

Saad Ullah

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The biggest countries in Asia by population and size, China and India has a tough stance on cryptocurrencies. Both had hit hard on digital monies, especially Bitcoin.

However, the opinion on these is changing. With a Shenzhen Court ruling already declaring Bitcoins and subsequent digital currencies legal.

China Property

In a latest legal battle involving two parties, where one claimed that it was not paid its earned money in Bitcoins due to the ban, the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration declared that not only was the other party liable to pay, but also that Bitcoin has the characteristics of a property and thus, is legal.

The ruling has set a lot gears in motion. Although sill not declared a currency, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies now enjoy all the state safety and security as any other property. That means it is now legal to hold, buy and transfer cryptocurrencies without state authorities cracking down on people.

This is a huge win for crypto community all around the world. Before the ICO and subsequent halt on cryptocurrencies, China was the largest market in the world. The country has largely embraced the cashless age, with many small merchants, even tea sellers, refusing to accept cash. Tancent the company behind the chat software WeChat, is the most used micro payment system in China, the WePay.

Indian Angle

Last week, the Indian Supreme Court held a hearing for petitions filed by local crypto exchanges and the IAMAI, the Internet And Mobile Association of India. The petitions were filed against the ruling given by Reserve Bank of India, where local companies were barred from providing crypto services of any kind.

Economic Times, a professional financial reporting platform, reported that the court has asked the government on its view of cryptocurrencies and to submit their opinion within two weeks.

Although there is no ruling or regulation on blockchain technology and its applications, the ban has effectively rendered local exchanges and crypto services useless. RBI had clarified that the ban was to stop the use of cryptocurrencies for illegal activities such as tax evasions and money laundering. The petitioners have argued that with the ban, crypto trading still is in effect through other OTC exchanges that are not based in India, such as LocalBitcoins.com. In this lies the irony of the situation. RBI has banned cryptos to stop black market trading and tax evasions; yet, the ban is now actually promoting underground use of digital tokens.

Will Indian courts follow suit and declare cryptocurrencies legal, or uphold the ban? The coming weeks will be interesting to watch.

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