The tug and war between crypto mainstream legitimacy and crypto skepticism has perhaps never been as acute as it is currently. You can see it playing out on multiple frontlines at once. What side is winning the battle depends on what part of the world that you are in.
As we wrote last week when talking about the battle in Nigeria, where the government is effectively banning the trading of crypto by making it illegal for banks to have dealings with crypto exchanges, it does none of us any good if the currency is under attack in any part of the world. That’s the case, even if we are not experience any disruption ourselves.
Crypto traders are usually pretty resourceful and have the ability to find workarounds to restrictions being places on them. Our brothers-in-arms in Nigeria are no different – they are finding ways to trade and exchange crypto still – but they are paying up to a 50% premium for the currency as compared to the rest of the world.
So their fight is far from over. We will keep monitoring the situation in Nigeria, but today we want to also draw your attention to the fight in India. There, traders have fought back against some serious possibilities and have appeared to at least temporarily stop the most restrictive measures on crypto trading that the Narendra Modi government were considering.
That’s no small accomplishment, as Modi is not known for his compromising behaviour.
What was being considered was a has proposed was a bill to heavily regulate and even outright ban cryptocurrencies in certain scenarios. Just like it is in Nigeria, the motivation for those measures is about control and trying to keep power. Modi is facing a lot of fight from a young generation that is sick of the choice of either putting up with things as they are, or fleeing their country for better opportunities, that has been an accepted reality for a generation Indians.
So, when the rumours of a ban started to gain traction, the traders pushed back and seemingly have forced the government to at least partially backdown.
Late last week, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs released a statement saying that companies that had engaged in cryptocurrency transactions will have to disclose them by April 1. Although it is a regulatory action, those in the crypto space welcomed the announcement as it was seen to be legitimizing the industry there.
As stated, Modi isn’t known for backing down. It appears that the crypto traders have, at least partially, won the battle for now.
As always, the situation will remain fluid in the short term, but the more often you see traditional power backing down in these ways, the better it is for the overall fight for acceptance. The worldwide game of wack-a-mole is likely to continue for a while though as traditional power structures continue to feel threatened by the emergence of crypto and its democratizing impact.
We need to both celebrate small victories like we are seeing in India, while also remain vigilant in the fight in places like Nigeria where the battle is far from over.