Banking regulator’s reply in response to RTI query by crypto exchange Unocoin
There is no prohibition on banks in providing accounts to traders dealing with virtual currencies, the Reserve Bank of India told crypto currency exchange Unocoin last week.
The banking regulator was responding to a Right to Information (RTI) query by Unocoin co-founder BV Harish.
RBI said on May 22 that “as on date, no such prohibition exists,” clarifying concerns raised by traders that banking channels were still blocked for transactions in virtual currencies such as bitcoin.
The RTI was filed on April 25, questioning whether the RBI had prohibited banks from providing accounts to crypto exchange companies or crypto traders. ET has reviewed the RBI’s response.
In March, the Supreme Court had struck down restrictions imposed by the RBI in a circular in April 2018 which directed all entities regulated by it not to deal in virtual currencies or provide services to facilitate any person or entity from dealing or settling in the same. The apex court termed it illegal. Harish filed the RTI query following concerns by traders who said banks continued to impose restrictions on crypto trade despite the top court ruling.
“Bankers have been saying that they need new RBI circulars mentioning that there are no more restrictions for them to provide bank accounts for crypto businesses. Now, we have received a positive response from the RBI,” Harish said.
RBI did not respond to queries by ET. Queries to some prominent Indian banks – SBI, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and Bank of Baroda – remained unanswered till press time Monday.