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India Plays with Straight Bat as Law Commission Makes Bitcoin Valid Payment

India’s law reform committee has added virtual currency as a legally accepted payment for settling online transactions.

Law reform decisions are not final but there in an advisory capacity to inform the government. A request was made by the Indian government through the apex court in July 2016 to rule on online gambling.

This decision in itself has still to be legislated for, but an interesting development from the request included in the commission’s latest report revealed that should online gambling be legalized, cryptocurrencies could be accepted for payment. The PDF outlined the recommendation:

“Gambling transactions should be made cashless, making use of electronic means of payment such as credit cards, debit cards, net-banking, virtual currencies (VC, or cryptocurrency)… the commission had recommended in its report submitted to the supreme court of India earlier this month.”

Nischal Shetty, founder and CEO of virtual currency exchange WazirX, suggested that this recommendation, if made a ruling, could be a landmark piece of legislation for cryptocurrency in the country:

“It is the first time that a body appointed by the government has given recognition to virtual currencies that they have value and can be used for a transaction… Therefore, it is a very positive sign, especially considering the report has come out after a lot of deliberation.”

Online sports betting has been a long-running contentious subject in India and the cause of some debate. India is quite simply cricket-mad, but regrettably, the country has a checkered past in terms of max fixing.

Originally, the traditional way to bet on games was in the back of a shop in a crowded Indian street until the mobile phone came along. Then, of course, the expanding of the internet into homes opened up a myriad of possibilities, which the Indian government has done its best to put down over recent years. The match-fixing scandal of 2013 made the government stand up and take notice and eventually the 2016 inquiry was ordered.

Law firm associate Tuhina Joshi says now both gambling and cryptocurrency appear to be in the same boat. Regulation is thought of as far more preferable to the current situation where both are banned out of hand.  There is, however, an aspect of this that does not work in the digital currency’s favor as the commission sees cryptocurrencies as a way of simplifying illegal gambling due to it increasing the user’s anonymity.

Nonetheless, the recent recommendations have been viewed positively by some crypto exchanges. Mohammed Danish, a Delhi high court advocate and expert on raising legal awareness about crypto, agrees that the new developments which could add digital currency to any online gambling legislation in the future add real weight to cryptocurrency’s acceptance at the governmental level.

 

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