The Reserve Bank of India has announced that regulated financial entities like banks will be barred from providing services to customers who deal with digital currencies. The announcement came in a statement released on Thursday and comes on the heels of several warnings to the public about the potential risks associated with cryptocurrencies.
The central bank’s statement said:
“Reserve Bank has repeatedly cautioned users, holders and traders of virtual currencies, including Bitcoins, regarding various risks associated in dealing with such virtual currencies. In view of the associated risks, it has been decided that, with immediate effect, entities regulated by RBI shall not deal with or provide services to any individual or business entities dealing with or settling VCs. Regulated entities which already provide such services shall exit the relationship within a specified time. A circular in this regard is being issued separately.”
While the statement offered no deadline for compliance, reporting from Bloomberg Quint has confirmed that affected financial firms will have three months to “unwind their positions with the entities related to cryptcurrencies.”
Despite the RBI crackdown on digital currencies in India, the central bank is apparently still considering the possible release of its own fiat “digital currency” at some point in the future:
“While many central banks are still engaged in the debate, an interdepartmental group has been constituted by the Reserve Bank to study and provide guidance on the desirability and feasibility to introduce a central bank digital currency. The Report will be submitted by end-June 2018.”