India Risks Losing $12.9 Billion if Crypto Ban Is Enacted, Expert Says

India could lose a share of the global digital assets market worth around $12.9 billion if the government presses ahead with a total ban on cryptocurrencies.

This assertion was made this week by Sidharth Sogani, chief executive of Crebaco Global, a crypto and blockchain analytical and advisory company. 

Speaking to AMBCrypto, Sogani listed the various industries that would suffer and the jobs that would be lost under such a blanket ban. He estimated India would lose around INR84,000 crore - or approximately $12.9 billion.

Lost Projects and Jobs

Indian crypto exchanges such as ZebPay and Unocoin collectively traded cryptocurrency volume amounting to around INR40,000 crore ($6.2 billion) last year. While the total value of volume traded does not equate to income - the revenues lost would be significant, he believes. 

Sogani said, however, that $4.9 billion could be attributed to lost cryptoasset whitepapers and other similar business plans, while around $7.9 billion in lost jobs - including coders, lawyers and content creators - would go.

Here's what another critic of the ban thought, when taking to Twitter last month:

The Proposed Ban

A draft bill titled "Banning of Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies Bill 2019" was presented before parliament in April, since when various government departments, industry insiders and interest and lobby groups have been discussing the document.

The proposed ban would prohibit the "sale, purchase and issuance of all types of cryptocurrency", and last month an inter-ministerial committee recommended a blanket ban on all privacy-centric cryptocurrencies.

The Critics Respond

Critics of the proposed ban have been vocal in recent months: Sathvik Vishwanath, founder of UNocoin, said last month:

If the government decides to take such a drastic step then India will stand to lose out significantly on the technology front.

Indeed, India has built a strong reputation upon its technology-driven economic growth during the past couple of decades, and many critics of the ban believe innovation would be stifled. 

One of the country's most influential trade organizations believes a cryptoasset ban would be counterproductive. The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) said on July 31 the Indian government should take less "drastic" approach. It said in a statement:

NASSCOM believes that the recent proposal of the inter-ministerial committee of the government to ban all cryptocurrencies barring those that are backed by the government, is not the most constructive measure. Instead, the government should work towards developing a risk-based framework to regulate and monitor cryptocurrencies and tokens.

Despite the proposed ban, India supports the development of blockchain and distributed ledger technology and is developing a blockchain platform for the banking industry, according to a June report in The Hindu BusinessLine.