India's Regulators May Soon Release Draft on Crypto Regulations, Local Sources Report

The government of India is reportedly planning to finalize a regulatory framework for digital currencies - which was submitted earlier by a inter-ministerial committee (IMC).

Inter-Ministerial Committee Tasked With Drafting Regulatory Guidelines

In response to a Right to Information (RTI) filing by a local news outlet, the Indian government confirmed it has been working on drafting cryptocurrency regulations for quite some time. Subhash Chandra Garg, the secretary of India’s economic affairs department, had said the IMC had been appointed to prepare regulatory guidelines for cryptoassets.

Coin Crunch India released an update on IMC’s progress, noting that a draft of the crypto regulations was in its “finalization stage.” Coin Crunch had reportedly filed a RTI with India’s Economic Affairs department on December 13th, 2018. The request from the news publication had asked for clarification regarding whether the crypto regulatory framework was being reviewed by the India’s Ministry of Finance.

The Economic Affairs department was also requested to provide information on whether bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies would be considered legal tender. In order to gain a better understanding of how digital assets will be regulated in India, the local news outlet had asked for a copy of the drafted regulatory guidelines.

Ministry Of Finance Confirms Regulations Are Being Finalized

In response to the inquiry, the Indian government issued a brief statement: 

The report of the committee is under finalization stage, hence, prohibited under section 8(3) of RTI Act, 2005.

The news publication confirmed that “Section 8 of the RTI act allows an entity to withhold the data in certain circumstances.”

In December 2018, India’s Ministry of Finance had stated that the IMC had been tasked with “studying study all aspects of cryptocurrencies and crypto-assets including bitcoin.” The committee was also “working to develop a framework for regulating cryptocurrencies,” according to India’s finance ministry.

Although Garg had mentioned last year that the IMC was planning to publish a report in July 2018, the final draft of the crypto regulations has not yet been released.

Conflicting Reports About Crypto Regulation

Last month, there were unconfirmed reports from CNBC TV18 that the IMC had recommended treating digital currencies as illegal. However, the New Indian Express reported in December 2018 that the committee may have requested the nation’s government to legalize cryptocurrency-related transactions “with strong riders.”

It appears that India’s regulators may still not be prepared to introduce comprehensive cryptoasset regulations as a recent statement from the finance ministry explained:

In absence of a globally acceptable solution and the need to devise [a] technically feasible solution, the department is pursuing the matter with due caution. It is difficult to state a specific timeline to come up with clear recommendations.

Hacked Exchange Cryptopia Enables Trading in 40 Different Currency Pairs

New Zealand-based digital asset exchange, Cryptopia has reportedly resumed trading on its exchange as it is now allowing 40 different trading pairs. This, after Cryptopia recently experienced from several different security breaches.

Support For Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin Pairs Added

Cryptopia’s management announced (via Twitter on March 18th) that it is planning to expand its list of coins which will again be supported on its trading platform. As noted on Cryptopia’s official support website, the exchange has enabled several different trading pairs (as of March 19th, 2019) with major cryptocurrencies. These include bitcoin (BTC), litecoin (LTC), and dogecoin (DOGE).

In response to Cryptopia’s announcement, Twitter user @dgb-chilling, a supporter of DigiByte (DGB), a cryptocurrency that uses five different mining algorithms, said that he had emailed the exchange’s support team to inform them regarding the coin’s latest update (version 6.17.2). He added that “an upgrade was recommended but not mandatory.”

Meanwhile, Chuck Norris (@CryptoTweet6) remarked: 

Now this is good news! Let’s hope the rest of the coins will be released for trading swiftly.

Other users also considered it “good news” that the compromised cryptoasset exchange was gradually resuming its operations. However, one social media user asked when Cryptopia would start enabling deposits while another inquired about why his ARK coins were still not recoverable from the trading platform. He claimed that he had deposited 1,000 ARK, currently valued at around $628, (a popular proof-of-stake based coin) on Cryptopia. The user also complained that his coins were missing “missing because [the exchange] did not update the ARK wallet."

Tens Of Millions Of Dollars Stolen In Hack

On February 27th, 2019, Cryptopia’s management announced that it was “assessing the impact incurred as a result of the hack” which led to the theft of tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency. Last month, Cryptopia’s support team had also estimated that the total loss incurred due to the security breaches was of around 10% of its total holdings (in the worst-case scenario).

Notably, the exchange’s official Twitter account had been silent for several weeks (since Feburary 14th). However, it released several announcements, starting in late February, in which it revealed that its staff members were working on securing each customer’s account individually. Cryptopia’s management also noted that it was taking the appropriate measures to ensure that its trading platform is secure when it is officially back online.