Big news out of the world’s second largest country, as India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) has shut down a Bitcoin exchange in Ahmedabad. This move comes days after the Reserve Bank of India issued a warning for Indians to not buy or sell the cryptocurrency.
Counting India, China and Thailand (which long ago forbade Bitcoin), that means more than one-third of the world’s population lives under a government that has actively or passively sought to curb Bitcoin use.
In Ahmadabad, ED officials shut down trading platform buysellbit.co.in, which was found to be in violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act and could possibly face charges of money laundering.
A representative from the ED said it was currently gathering data regarding the transactions and the names of traders in an effort to substantiate money laundering charges.
Here, according to DNA India, is what one official said: “Being a virtual currency, [Bitcoin’s] transfer is and settlement is done online. No country has legalized Bitcoin as of now because of its opaque nature.”
Officials have said similar raids in other cities were planned.
Stories out of India regarding the raid indicate the government’s position is concerned both with money laundering and the lack of government backing for Bitcoin.
“The users are exposed to potential losses on account of volatility in value,” reads the Reserve Bank of India’s warning.
India Today reports a local Bitcoin community in India of upwards of 50,000 people, at least 30,000 of whom own some amount of the currency.