Interview: Top Indian Crypto Leaders Speak On 10 Year Jail Bill Draft

Crypto Leaders

Interview: Top Indian Crypto Leaders Speak On 10 Year Jail Bill Draft

“Don’t panic!” The advice from most of the top crypto leaders of India to the crypto lovers and enthusiasts. Obviously 10-year jail bill draft turned out to be a panic move for crypto enthusiasts in India who were long been waiting to hear out crypto-friendly regulations from Indian Govt officials.

In reality, majority of the Indians believe the latest 10-year jail bill draft reported by BloombergQuint is either half-truth or clickbait. Looking at the ongoing debate, Coingape editors individually reached out to top crypto leaders of India including:

To find out their views on three key aspects around the bill report.

  • How True Bloomberg Report Is? What’s your view of Jail Aspect and On the other side Introducing Digital Rupee?
  • What’s your point on the approval of Draft report (if Bloomberg news is legit)? Will it get passed or will be unnoticed just like Triple Talaq?
  • Crypto Leaders (Pompliano, Barry Silbert, CZ, and others) think if Bill gets passed, it will actually drive adoption. What’s your take on possible effect if Bill gets passed?

Insights from Nischal Shetty, CEO of Indian Crypto Exchange WazirX

Coingape | Nischal Shetty
Coingape | Nischal Shetty

Coingape – How True Bloomberg Report Is? What’s your view of Jail Aspect and On the other side Introducing Digital Rupee?

Nischal Shetty – There’s no way to verify this story. But in good faith, I’m hoping Bloomberg isn’t an organization that would print news without any credible source.

So assuming that they indeed got their hands on a draft crypto bill, there are a few things we need to be aware of.

  1. This is just a draft recommendation by the Subhash Garg committee. Only time will tell whether the Government of India accepts this or not.
  2. There is a chance that the article might be quoting the jail term and complete ban without understanding the entire draft. Because the draft screenshot shared by the Bloomberg author speaks of a certain “Section 8” of the draft that specifies what activities would be deemed illegal. The author hasn’t shared section 8 and due to this, it’s impossible to say whether this ban and jail term is for the general public or for those who deal with money laundering and terrorism using Crypto.

If the jail term is for the general public then it’s a very unfortunate viewpoint. It directly targets the millions of millennial population of India. If true then this bill will jeopardize the standing of the Government in the eyes of the millennials. They’ll see this as an infringement on their financial freedom, Internet Freedom as well as their freedom to innovate.

As far as digital rupee is concerned, if the bill indeed discussed that, then once again, it simply shows the lack of understanding of blockchain and crypto. Any person with enough technical understanding will tell you that the Government does not need blockchain to launch its own currency. We already have digital money INR and people are already using it. Crypto works where there is no central authority and governments don’t need to forcefully create a crypto token of their own unless there’s a completely new use case they are thinking of.

Coingape – What’s your point on the approval of Draft report (if Bloomberg news is legit)? Will it get passed or will be unnoticed just like Triple Talaq?

Nischal Shetty – I have faith in our PM Mr. Narendra Modi. He’s tech-savvy and has always been a proponent of India’s economic growth. Crypto has been generating jobs and wealth creation opportunities for Indians and our PM is not going to let India miss this opportunity.

Besides, banning Crypto will lead to a brain drain. The Indian technology sector will never get any crypto related work or any crypto related investments. This will lead to billions of dollars of lost revenue for India.

My view is that such a harsh, Draconian bill will not be passed by India.

It’s very simple if our ministers simply ask “Which other country has passed such a law?” The answer will be “None”. If India’s elected ministers take an informed approach towards such a bill, they are all going to be against it.

Coingape – Crypto Leaders (Pompliano, Barry Silbert, CZ, and others) think if Bill gets passed, it will actually drive adoption. What’s your take on possible effect if Bill gets passed?

Nischal  Shetty –

  1. Thousands of current crypto jobs would be lost
  2. Millions of potential job opportunities will be lost
  3. Billions of dollars in investment would be lost
  4. Brain drain
  5. It will give rise to Zero domain knowledge of Crypto in India
  6. India becomes the first large nation to implement such a ban
  7. India will never be able to implement this since there’s no technology to ban crypto
  8. The black market for crypto will emerge in India

Strangely, if the reason for the ban is to stop money laundering then the surprising part is that a ban does not impact the money launderers. They’ll still be able to continue laundering money since as I said before, there’s no technology that can ban crypto.

It’s just the common citizen of India who gets negatively affected by such a ban.

Insights from Varun Sethi, famous Indian Blockchain Lawyer

Varun Sethi
Coingape | Varun Sethi

Coingape – How True Bloomberg Report Is? What’s your view of Jail Aspect and On the other side Introducing Digital Rupee?

Varun Sethi – Though the reports of Bloomberg Quint contradict with the replies to our Right to information application filed with the reserve bank,  which stated that RBI has no knowledge of a draft bill for banning of cryptos in India, yet the evidence on record makes us feel that an inter-ministerial communication is surely being conducted and the noise around it is not unwarranted. Though with nothing available officially on the public domain regarding such proposed bill yet, hence would like to reserve my thoughts till an official notification is issued.

Our views on jail terms of up to 10 years as part of the proposed bill, seems to be a lift off from similar provisions which exist in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in India, rather a 3x penalty on the gains of cryptos also seem to be similar to provisions of Sec 271(c) of the existing income tax act of India.

We feel that such provisions are currently mere proposals and may or may not be part of the final bills that is proposed to be tabled in the Parliament as a part of standard procedure.

The question pertaining to the issuance of official digital Rupee was specifically asked by us in the right to information application to RBI, however, they have directed the reply to Department of Economic affairs, unless such reply is provided by them, we cannot yet comment on what is the notion of such a term

Coingape – What’s your point on the approval of Draft report (if Bloomberg news is legit)? Will it get passed or will be unnoticed just like Triple Talaq?

Varun Sethi -The journey of a bill to an act is rather long and complicated one. so whether the current clauses of the proposed bill shall become part of the final act remains to be seen. We have seen many bills being lagged and expire before seeing the light of being an act. It totally depends on the urgency by the government to take up such matters.

Coingape – Crypto Leaders (Pompliano, Barry Silbert, CZ, and others) think if Bill gets passed, it will actually drive adoption. What’s your take on possible effect if Bill gets passed?

Varun Sethi – We also feel so. A more regulated environment shall imply that individual investors are more protected than the current state of affairs, though unless the entire clauses of the bills are officially out in public domain,  it is hard to comment whether there are provisions of regulated entities and penal terms for unregulated ones. Or is it that crypto holding shall be deemed to be illegitimate. A bill shall surely be encouraged since it regulates an ever-growing unregulated crypto space however from what is currently available in bits and pieces in the social media seem to be on hard on genuine crypto investors and hodlers.

Insights from Kashif Raza from the most reliable crypto handle CryptoKanoon

kashif
Coingape | Kashif Raza

Coingape – How True Bloomberg Report Is? What’s your view of Jail Aspect and On the other side Introducing Digital Rupee?

Kashif Raza –  First of all, It’s not still clear whether the bill is private or public – there’s a difference between these two. Private bill can be plotted by any member of the parliament, the public bill is plotted by ministry like the finance ministry, defense ministry, home ministry – they can introduce the bill in Lok Sabha. Although the process of submitting the bill is the same the success rate of public bill to get approved is much higher than the private bill. As per the past history, the chances of private bill getting approved/passed is very less. So the type of bill that BloomberQuint is referring is still not clear –whether it is private bill or public bill.

There is another assumption – The draft bill that BloomberQuint is claiming, it can be a draft which was drafted earlier and then it might have been rejected and the copy got leaked and somehow copy came out.

Yes, they have their plans of launching own digital currency. How far it will be successful, it is yet to be seen because the whole idea of decentralization will get killed. And who will accept it, suppose if you’re making a project on Dapps, then the client in abroad is accepting ETH then why will he wants to accept RupeeCoin/ LuxmiCoin. We’ve seen that the centralized coin generally doesn’t have the future, it is mainly database, nothing more than that. Nobody can contribute to, nobody can start their own nodes, nobody can check it, nobody can authenticate it. I don’t think so it will be successful, it will be merely digitization of existing fiat currency.

Coingape – What’s your point on the approval of Draft report (if Bloomberg news is legit)? Will it get passed or will be unnoticed just like Triple Talaq?

Kashif Raza – Triple Talaq bill was passed in Lok Sabah, but when it went to Rajya Sabha, BJP didn’t have a majority in Rajya Sabha, it couldn’t get approved and the time get lapsed and the Election came in by that time. There are also chances that opposition might resubmit again.

And now, let’s assume that this jail draft bill is the original copy and it will get introduced as it is and the punishment bill remain the same without any change and also it gets approved by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Even then, the very next day, you can challenge the act in different courts of India and the constitutional validity of the act. Also to be noted down, BJP has not got the higher majority in Rajya Sabha right now, there are chances of high debate and also chances that it might not get approved in Rajya Sabha.

In fact, what is the logic of putting people behind fast-forward technology, you cannot kill this technology, you cannot stop it, you can ban it. you can only ban trading.

Coingape – Crypto Leaders (Pompliano, Barry Silbert, CZ, and others) think if Bill gets passed, it will actually drive adoption. What’s your take on possible effect if Bill gets passed?

Kashif Raza – I will replace adoption in awareness. Also, I don’t think in the shorter period there will be the adoption in India. Now every single media is covering this piece of draft report –with that, at least people are getting aware of this cryptocurrency, Bitcoin and blockchain technology.

Insights from Sunil Sharma, top 50 tech leader & acclaimed blockchain educator 

Sunil Sharma
Coingape | Sunil Sharma

Coingape – How true Bloomberg report is? What is your view of Jail Aspect and on the other hand introduction of Digital Rupee?

Sunil Sharma – Being one of the top news sources, Bloomberg has a reputation to maintain. I do not think it will pull such a stunt to just to drive fear among readers. However, RBI has clearly denied any knowledge of a bill concerning the ban of cryptocurrencies in India, as stated in the RTI. Here’s the link: https://www.scribd.com/document/412385479/Blockchain-Lawyer-RTI-Response-by-RBI-for-Banning-of-Crypto-Bil

RBI is a much-reputed organization as well and is accountable for each of its actions.

This puts us all in a state of confusion. Assuming that there is a bill that has been kept out of the loop from RBI, I would like to be optimistic about it. Nischal has pointed out that all the clauses are applicable only under the activities performed under section 8. So, I am hoping that section 8 includes the use of crypto for terrorism or money laundering.

10 years of jail with penalty sounds extreme, and that’s why I think the act will apply only to illegal activities like money laundering. But there is no technical way to ban cryptocurrency, only its trading within national boundaries can be banned.

Talking about Digital Rupee, it will be a centralized digital version of fiat Rupee.

“Digital Rupee or any CDBC for that instance, does not incorporate the decentralization narrative of cryptocurrencies anyways, so I don’t think it’s wise to even compare it with cryptocurrencies. It’s like comparing oranges to mangoes.”

Coingape – Do you think the bill will pass or not? Or will it go unnoticed just like Triple Talaq?

Sunil Sharma – I cannot comment on the legal aspects but in general, I believe that the bill will not pass as it is. The reason is that Technology is an industry that India can gain a lot from. The whole world sees India as a tech-savvy country.

Blockchain and cryptocurrency are future technologies. They have the potential to create thousands of new jobs in the future and generate revenue worth billions. Moreover, we have seen a surge in technological adoption in India recently. India is a flourishing market for this industry.

Passing this bill means losing such a wonderful opportunity.

Maybe it can get unnoticed like Triple Talaq. But the supreme court asked the government to submit a policy regarding cryptocurrency by June. So, it will not get unnoticed completely.

Coingape – Crypto Leaders think if the bill gets passed, it will actually drive towards adoption. What’s your take on possibilities if the bill gets passed?

Sunil Sharma – Awareness is the right word to use here. If such an extreme bill is passed, it will certainly attract hype. More and more people will come to know about cryptocurrencies. As of adoption, we cannot say because who knows how many people indulge in illegal activities?

The possible effects:

  1. A considerable number of Indians are indulged in the cryptocurrency industry, they will all lose their jobs.
  2. Losing the chance of potential jobs around cryptocurrency.
  3. Most of the investors will lose their investments.
  4. As a result, these people will start holding coins privately because nobody leaves their money so easily.
  5. Loss of faith in the current government, millennials do not like being told what to do with their money.

We still lack a lot of information and there is a lot of uncertainty. So, we should wait till 23 July before drawing more possibilities.

Even if these headlines are negative, people start hunting why people are so scared about it. Let’s study it and so the awareness.

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Interview: Top Indian Crypto Leaders Speaks On 10 Year Jail Bill Draft
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Interview: Top Indian Crypto Leaders Speaks On 10 Year Jail Bill Draft
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In reality, for many Indians believe the latest 10-year jail bill draft report by BloombergQuint is either half-truth or clickbait. Looking at the ongoing debate, Coingape personally reached out to top crypto leaders of India including nischal Shetty, varun Sethi, Kashi Raza.
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Tabassum is a full-time content writer at Coingape. Her passion lies in writing and delivering apt information to users. Currently, she does not hold any form of cryptocurrencies. Follow her on Twitter at @Tabassumnaiz and reach out to her at Tabassum[at]coingape.com

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Tabassum is a full-time content writer at Coingape. Her passion lies in writing and delivering apt information to users. Currently, she does not hold any form of cryptocurrencies. Follow her on Twitter at @Tabassumnaiz and reach out to her at Tabassum[at]coingape.com

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