This past weekend, the fourth in a series of protests were held across India in an attempt to show support to reverse a cryptocurrency ban by the Reserve Bank of India.
This weekend’s protest was held in Bangalore with previous protests in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad that “saw thousands of crypto and blockchain enthusiasts and professional stakeholders take to the streets”. Last year, the Reserve bank of India encouraged banks to break ties with other businesses conducting cryptocurrency transactions, with a ban following shortly after. Since these government actions did not align with citizens’ feelings, protests have been occurring to display disillusionment.
The Indian Supreme Court was supposed to rule this past weekend on whether or not to uphold the ban, but they adjourned without a decision. A new date will be picked for a future ruling, but that date is still unknown. So cryptocurrencies in India will have to remain in a state of limbo until then.
Limited cryptocurrency use in India
While the early discouragement of cryptocurrency use by the RBI hampered cryptocurrency adoption in India, the overall lack of cryptocurrency use is still not a positive sign for the interest group to sway politicians. For example, while cryptocurrency payments were still legal, a restaurant in the “Silicon Valley of India”, Bangalore, received “only three Bitcoin payments during the one plus year”. The owner of the restaurant even pondered not returning to cryptocurrency even if it was legalized again.
Aggarwal summarized the feelings in India, and the wider world, about cryptocurrency and how its potential is what is also making it difficult for consumers and governments to adopt the technology.
“Cryptocurrency represents a world different than we currently live in, a more efficient one, a more evolved one. One that is so different, that none of us is able to figure out if it would directly do more positive impact that the negative. On top of it, we don’t understand it completely, especially its multifold effects and we always fear, what we don’t understand.”
Akshay Aggarwal, co-founder of Blockchain India, which is an incubator for blockchain developers, explained that despite the common appreciation for cryptocurrency, each protest crowd is decentralized and has their own desired outcomes. Delhi focused more on directly challenging authorities, Mumbai emphasized the value of their time and the importance of blockchain in generating more money, and Hyderabad was open to both sides weighing the pros and cons of increased regulations versus deregulation.
Importance of community stakeholders
Cryptocurrency was intended to be a decentralized solution to the problem of individuals losing money to a few, centralized individuals being able to control monetary and financial resources. Dash is helping to achieve that vision by emphasizing community involvement and is even able to fund their activities through its decentralized treasury, which helps ensure that these decentralized community groups do not become beholden to third party motives.
Decentralized communities are able to pursue cryptocurrency adoption in ways that work best for their local communities. Venezuela and Colombia are two prime examples that have pursued relatively different merchant and consumer adoption strategies, but have still gotten significant adoption in both countries. Achieving these adoption levels are particularly important to starve off government regulations since politicians become more fearful of instituting a ban when they see that a significant portion of their citizens are actually using cryptocurrency.