Industry body IAMAI dissolves crypto, blockchain advocacy unit

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) — the industry body representing top internet companies and tech platforms — has dissolved a key unit set up four years ago to do public advocacy for the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector, citing regulatory uncertainty, it said in a statement Thursday.

The Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC) — which represents Indian crypto industry players such as CoinSwitch Kuber, WazirX, CoinDCX, Zebpay, BitBNS, Vauld, Chingari, Mudrex, etc — was formed to advocate the crypto industry’s arguments to regulatory bodies such as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The central bank has taken a view on private cryptocurrencies as being threatening to the monetary stability of the country. Late last month, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das noted that cryptocurrencies “are a clear danger”, and that the country must be “mindful of the emerging risks on the horizon”. This, as the RBI works towards launching its own digital currency.

“The association was forced to take the decision in light of the fact that a resolution of the regulatory environment for the industry is still very uncertain, and that the association would like to utilise its limited resources for other emerging digital sectors, which make a more immediate and direct contribution to digital India, notably, deepening financial inclusion and promoting Central Bank issued Digital Currency (CBDC),” the IAMAI said in its statement.

It also said that members of the BACC were informed of the decision at a meeting held here on Thursday. Members were also told that IAMAI will continue to support activities of the BACC till the end of the month to ensure smooth and proper transition of the sector as well as closure of the ongoing projects.

According to sources, the proposal to dismantle the BACC has been under consideration at the IAMAI for some time, given the increasing tightening of norms for crypto players by the government and the stance taken by the RBI.

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In a joint statement, BACC chair Ashish Singhal and co-chair Sumit Gupta said: “Our stated belief as industry has always been to have sustainable dialogue with regulators and stakeholders and address concerns for progressive regulations. As an industry, we will continue to positively engage with all stakeholders and continue to build emerging tech including Web 3.0”.

Over the last few years, multiple Indian entrepreneurs and developers in the Web 3.0 space are moving out of the country in a bid to shift base to more crypto-friendly destinations, such as the UAE. This has been happening amid a progressive clamping down on cryptocurrencies, including action by enforcement agencies against some platforms, new rules and regulatory tweaks being issued every few weeks even as there is lack of clarity on policy in the longer run.

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