An online petition against the decision by the Reserve Bank of India to ban banks from offering cryptocurrency services has gathered 22,201 signatures.
The petition was launched just four days ago and addressed to the RBI and the Prime Minister. The petition takes a jab at the regulator’s contradicting positions, on the one hand effectively banning crypto transactions through banks while on the other hand mulling over introducing an official digital currency.
India will be left behind by other countries if it does not provide a facilitative environment for the technology, the petition says. As an example, it gives taxi hailing services such as Uber which were at first shunned by several governments but which have since “weaved it beautifully in the lifeblood of how the city moves.”
It calls on the authorities to drop its protectionist stance against cryptocurrencies and instead encourage innovation through the blockchain technology.
“This is clearly stifling innovation around blockchain. If a government does not facilitate adoption of new technology the country stands to left behind. It’s not that a Google or an Apple gets created by a govt. It’s when entrepreneurs are provided the best possible launchpad when this happens. If as a govt you do not provide that – that’s when people like Sundar Pichai or Satya Nadella have to leave the country and they become creators for some other countries,” the petition on Change.org reads
Last week, RBI banned banks and other financial institutions from offering cryptocurrency-related services.
Deputy governor BP Kanungo said the decision was reached in light of the “associated risks.” Banks offering such services to clients now have three months to end them, the directive said.
During a press conference announcing the move, BP Kanungo said a panel was looking at the possibility of introducing an official digital currency backed by the government.
Cryptocurrency exchanges are reportedly planning to move overseas in the wake of the sudden directive.
The petition points out the fact that people will simply switch to trading cryptocurrencies in cash backing the claim with figures showing that the trend went up 80 times in the last one year.
The move also puts the hard earned money of millions of Indians in jeopardy after a knee jerk reaction in prices.
But the government also stands to benefit from the revenue generated from profitable business models if the sector is allowed to thrive, the petition says. The petition notes that cryptocurrency exchanges have been extremely compliant with KYC norms.