Unicas, the global cryptocurrency financial institution, last week opened its third physical bank branch in New Delhi. From this branch in the national capital, Unicas will offer banking services based on fiat and cryptocurrencies. The financial institution had two other branches in India —in Jaipur and Jamnagar.
Apart from letting its customers access crypto and fiat services at the bank, Unicas offers digital loans using crypt holdings as collateral. By the end of the year, the bank aspires to launch 50 branches across the country.
It also aims to launch 50 more branches by the end of 2022. However, its plans are likely to get stifled on account of a bill to regulate/ban cryptocurrencies that is awaiting nod in the Parliament.
The ‘Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021’ will be tabled before Lok Sabha during this session. Compared to the previous bill, the present one is a bit more forward-looking in its approach — instead of an outright ban, this bill seems to suggest that the government intends to regulate cryptocurrencies.
Though the text of the proposed bill is not yet out, a summary available on the Lok Sabha website suggests that under the 2021 bill only RBI will be empowered to create an official digital currency. Though the 2021 bill seeks to prohibit ‘private cryptocurrencies’, it’s not clear what is considered as “private cryptocurrency”.
As such, the fate of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is unknown. Also, it’s not clear how the bill, once passed, would impact Unicas’ operations in India.
According to a Bloomberg report, India will go ahead with a complete ban on investment in cryptocurrencies, while providing existing investors a transition period to exit their holdings.
Couple of weeks ago, the Bloomberg reported a senior official from the finance ministry as saying that since cryptocurrency isn’t fiat currency backed by RBI, its usage in all forms will be banned through the new law to be introduced in Parliament.
(Edited by : Jomy)
First Published: IST