This week’s crisis in the Indian Bitcoin market involves BTCXIndia’s recent closure due to the loss of its banking partner.
The India-based exchange, BTCXIndia which featured a live trading platform and wallet service, said in a statement on its website and via email that it would close its doors on May 20, 2015 citing that “without a bank account, we can no longer operate as a business and we are thus forced to close operations.”
This sudden turn of events startled several active bitcoiners, who interpreted the move as being a strategic regulatory move by the central bank towards an eventual ban.
The members of the Bitcoin India Alliance (BIA) – an alliance of India’s top Bitcoin entrepreneurs - were quick to to assess the issue. Vishal Gupta, SearchCoin Network Founder, told the following to Cointelegraph:
“BTCXIndia has posted on their site that their bank accounts have been shut and further claimed that no other bank is offering to open an account for them. This seems to have set panic within community at large. On our further probing the matter it seems its a case in isolation and there is no blanket ban or directive from RBI (Reserve Bank of India) to this effect. We at BIA would like tell Bitcoin users in India not to panic on this news. We would also like to request for BTCXIndia to make document they received from their bank public in larger interest of Bitcoin community in India.”
Meanwhile, other members reassured that their businesses have not received any orders to cease operations. Sathvik Vishwanath, Unocoin CEO, said:
"We have bank accounts with national sector, private sector and co-operative sector. All relations are fully secure and we have not received any kind of request asking us to part with them. We look forward to continue growing our business with their continued support."
Igot’s Ansh Day:
”As far as Igot is concerned, there have been no such restrictions imposed by India's banks or government. Our banking relationships are very positive and the country's Bitcoin community is increasingly important for us."
Overall, it seems that BTCXIndia’s case may have been a rare exception in an otherwise growing Indian Bitcoin market. While there has been no official release of any central bank regulation to the effect of a potential bitcoin ban, further communication is awaited from both BTCXindia and the bank in question.
"Indian Bitcoin ecosystem is waking up to the positive actions and news being shared by western world,” explained Zebpay Co-Founder, Saurabh Agrawal. “Volumes and demand for bitcoin is on rise. VCs are showing interest in the field. Most of national and international banks are allowing opening and running of Bitcoin businesses. We see no problem in operations at India.”
Back in December 2014, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India commented that he has “no doubt” digital currencies will play a role in India's future society.