The Reserve Bank of India has launched a research unit to explore cryptocurrency, blockchain, and other emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, according to a report in the Economic Times.
The report cites unnamed sources who noted the possibility that the research unit could eventually be tasked with writing new regulations and supervising the technologies:
“As a regulator, the RBI also has to explore new emerging areas to check what can be adopted and what cannot. A central bank has to be on top to create regulations. This new unit is on an experimental basis and will evolve as time passes.”
The country’s authorities have taken an aggressive approach to dealing with the crypto industry throughout much of 2018, issuing warnings to investors and barring regulated financial institutions from providing services to cryptocurrency exchanges. The government has also promised to provide clearer guidelines for the industry, and many expect the new rules to be introduced sometime next month.
The move by the RBI has reportedly earned praise from analysts. Accenture managing director Piyush Singh suggested that regulators need to be even more familiar with the industries they supervise:
“Unless regulators are part of the ecosystem, they understand and have a clear indication of what is accepted and what is not, it can neither protect the industry it regulates nor the consumers who use it. This is true specially in the financial world where paper-based regulations are a passe’ due to the onset of digital technologies. It is extremely important and the right thing to do from RBI's perspective.”