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CZ on India Bitcoin Ban: The more it’s banned, the more people want it

With bitcoin currently trading at a $500 premium in India, Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), argues that the nation’s decision to outlaw cryptocurrencies is only driving more people towards decentralized assets.


Binance Contests India Bitcoin Ban

Binance CEO, CZ, posted a tweet this week commenting on India’s latest anti-bitcoin bill, which seeks to dish out jail sentences to anybody caught holding cryptocurrencies.

The head of the world’s largest centralised crypto exchange argued that the newly proposed changes to ban cryptocurrencies will only serve to make “more people want it”.

This has become increasingly evident over the last couple of days, as Bitcoin’s spot price on Bitbns platform – one of the few remaining bitcoin exchanges in India – has been reportedly trading at around $11,120 . This price is more than $500 higher than the average BTC price in other markets across the world, and is currently $450 higher than Binance’s BTC spot price.

This substantial premium compared to the rest of the market highlights the overwhelming demand for BTC in the country.

Bitcoin Premiums On the Rise

Premiums aren’t a strange occurrence for cryptocurrencies in general, and only last week a $160 Bitcoin premium was identified on a Hong Kong exchange, Tidebit, as reported by Bitcoinist.  But the situation in India is particularly peculiar, given the government’s increasing anti-crypto stance. With fewer avenues to purchase bitcoin, the increasing scarcity and rising demand appear to be rocketing up prices.

$500 Bitcoin Premium India

Bitcoin continues to be the poster child for a real life manifestation of the Streisand effect – where the more people that try to suppress it, the greater it grows. Despite numerous efforts from Indian lawmakers to restrict cryptocurrency adoption in the country, it appears the appeal of the top-ranked cryptocurrency hasn’t stopped growing.

This broadening appeal has even moved beyond retail speculation into mainstream institutional adoption.

What’s Causing the Indian BTC Premium?

But why would there be an increase in demand for BTC in India? Well, the country’s government has stepped up its capital control policies in a bid to protect the Indian Rupee (INR). However, with the country’s rising debt profile and growing inflation, the exact opposite of the desired outcome in terms of INR stability seems to be the case.

Bitcoin, therefore, constitutes a haven currency for Indians to store wealth in case the INR loses value significantly.

Indians do not have easy access to cryptocurrencies in general. The country’s central bank banned commercial banks from facilitating transactions for exchanges back in 2018 so platforms have no access to fiat.

Despite a vigorous challenge instituted against the policy, the Supreme Court has yet to reach any verdict. Banks have even gone further to close down the accounts of customers engaged in cryptocurrency trading.

The emerging digital crackdown even goes beyond bitcoin with reports of platforms like Telegram and Reddit being blocked in the country. Some banks have even reportedly ceased offering support for PayPal payments.

Cease Crypto Trading or go to Jail

India is even preparing to pass a law that completely bans all forms of cryptocurrency activity in the country. This new law will reportedly prohibit the trading, holding, and mining of cryptocurrency.

Anyone caught in contravention of the law would face a 10-year prison sentence without the possibility of parole. Such a move would even place India above China in terms of anti-crypto regulations.

Projects like Facebook’s Libra might not be allowed to operate in India given the country’s banking laws which prohibit banking networks from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions. Crypto stakeholders in India say the government’s stance will only drive the industry underground.

Will Modi’s government be able to ban bitcoin completely in India? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Bitbns.com. Twitter @cz_Binance, Shutterstock

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India Plans to Enforce Internet Censorship With 3 Years Jail Time

Source: bitcoin

India

India has expanded their draconian internet copyright and media enforcement policies from DNS filtering banned IPs, to enforcing those bans with up to 3 years jail time and up to a $4500 USD fine for attempting to visit a blocked site. Said enforcement is facilitated with assistance from Indian ISPs

Read Also: Secure Boot Hack is a Good Thing: Here’s Why

India Lets John Doe Go Too Far

Many sites are blocked in India at the request of the Bollywood media industry and other legal entities. They do so via a legal avenue known as a ‘John Doe order:’ an injunction that recommends action as a prophylactic against the possibility of a crime taking place, or in instances of crimes perpetrated by anonymous actors. In effect, John Doe orders have given the Media Industry carte-blanche to order a site be blocked in India, and now people attempting to visit those sites risk serious legal repercussions. Mind you; not just pirates fall under this legal umbrella. Simply visiting a site with content deemed undesirable by the aabove John Doe orders will make you a criminal. Try visiting one of the many blocked sites in India, and it will return:

An ISP Complicit with new Indian enforcement

“This URL has been blocked under the instructions of the Competent Government Authority or in compliance with the orders of a Court of competent jurisdiction. Viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating an illicit copy of the contents under this URL is punishable as an offence under the laws of India, including but not limited to under Sections 63, 63-A, 65 and 65-A of the Copyright Act, 1957 which prescribe imprisonment for 3 years and also fine of upto Rs. 3,00,000/-. Any person aggrieved by any such blocking of this URL may contact at urlblock@tatacommunications.com who will, within 48 hours, provide you the details of relevant proceedings under which you can approach the relevant High Court or Authority for redressal of your grievance”

Tata Communications is an Indian ISP, indicating that there is deeper cooperation taking place than the previous Government DNS filtering efforts. This increased level of cooperation aligns itself with increased Indian copyright enforcement efforts.  Given that this message may be and is fairly often returned when no infringing content is hosted on a site, and that it blocks engine-searchable media like images and news outlets based on Lists Compiled from Indian media industry John Doe orders, it places an unenforceable amount of people in legal jeopardy.

While doubtful this is a move towards China-Style internet censorship in India, It highlights just how far reaching their current system is. While this censorship stems from a legal loophole that circumvents due process, interests align such that it will likely continue, and just because it criminalizes the ostensibly legal internet habits of an incredibly large amount of Indian Citizens, putting enforcement of this new policy well outside the realm of practicality, does not mean examples will not be made.

Want to discuss internet freedom on the sub-continent?  Start one in the comments!


 

The post India Plans to Enforce Internet Censorship With 3 Years Jail Time appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

India Plans to Enforce Internet Censorship With 3 Years Jail Time

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