5th July 2018

Cryptocurrency Regulations in India

Cryptocurrency Regulations In India

Cryptocurrencies: Not legal tender

Cryptocurrency exchanges: Effectively illegal – regulations being considered

Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in India.  While exchanges are legal in India due to the absence of a robust regulatory framework, a protracted licensing process makes it very difficult for certain cryptocurrency services and innovative technologies to operate.  Although there is currently a lack of clarity over the tax status of cryptocurrencies, the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxation has said that anyone making profits from Bitcoin will have to pay taxes on them. Other Income Tax Department sources have suggested that cryptocurrency profits should be taxed as capital gains.Cryptocurrency exchange regulations in India have grown increasingly strict. While technically legal, in 2018 the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) banned banks and any regulated financial institutions from “dealing with or settling virtual currencies.” On 14 Jan 2018, RBI confirmed that it had not issued any licenses or authorisations to any entity or company to operate a scheme or deal but had issued warnings about dealing in virtual currencies and introduced a requirement for firms to unwind or exit their positions. It also confirmed that new prohibitive regulations were planned. The sweeping regulation prohibited the trade of cryptocurrencies on domestic exchanges and gave existing exchanges until 6 July 2018, to wind down. 

In 2020, a landmark Supreme Court decision ruled the ban unconstitutional, reversing the prohibition and allowing exchanges to reopen.