India’s Unicas crypto bank opened its third physical branch last week in New Delhi. Previous locations were launched in Jamnagar and Jaipur.
Unicas reportedly allows customers to access fiat and crypto services at the bank and provides digital loans using crypto holdings as collateral. The bank aims to launch 50 branches across the country by the end of the year and 50 more by the end of 2022.
Its plans may be stifled, however, due to a crypto bill that is awaiting consideration in India’s parliament. The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill is intended to "prohibit all private cryptocurrencies" while also creating a regulatory framework for a digital rupee issued by the Reserve Bank of India. However, the bill also says it will allow for "certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses."
In an earlier statement to Cointelegraph, Cashaa CEO Kumar Gaurav said "there is no way any government" can ban crypto given its nature as a global, decentralized system. However, he opined that the Indian government is attempting to crack down on crypto scams with the proposed ban.
"The government is only trying to put a full-stop to any scams operating in the name of crypto," said Gaurav. "Overall, banning crypto will not be a win for anybody. And I trust even the government understands that very well."
"Depriving the country of the technology and opportunity which is being created by crypto is not very different from depriving someone of the internet."
The proposed legislation is currently being considered in the upper house of India’s Parliament as part of its budget session, which is in recess until Sunday. However, the government is reportedly considering a legislative shortcut to pass the bill by using the “ordinate route.” This method would require the president of India, Ram Nath Kovind, to issue an ordinance when Parliament is not in session.
It is unclear how the bill passage would potentially affect Unicas’ operations in India. An anonymous source claiming to be a senior Indian Finance Ministry official claimed earlier this month that the use of all cryptocurrencies would be completely banned in the country under the proposed bill. However, Nischal Shetty, CEO and founder of India’s WazirX exchange, said “The government isn’t in a hurry to make a decision” on crypto and might consult with stakeholders rather than outright banning it.