With Union Budget 2023 just around the corner, the crypto industry is hopeful for a change
Crypto investors across India are eagerly expecting the Union Budget 2023 to see how the finance ministry will tackle the virtual digital assets (VDAs) sector this time around. Along with the recent FTX tragedy, the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) tough stance against digital assets has raised concerns among Indian crypto investors and businesses alike.
In 2017, RBI first forbade banks from offering services to anyone working with cryptocurrency. The Indian Supreme Court overturned this decision in 2020. (SC). Even though the Income Tax Act of 1961 now recognizes cryptocurrencies as virtual digital assets, the RBI and the government continue to be wary of them.
How Are Different Governments Handling the Situation?
For all governments, protecting consumers and tackling pseudonymity in the crypto ecosystem are of the highest importance. As a result, the European Union and the US have both taken legislative actions to lay out more thorough and strict regulations for crypto assets.
The Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) bill from the European Union, which is presently pending in the European Parliament, aims to establish regulations for related service providers and issuers while establishing a harmonized legal framework for three subcategories of crypto assets, including utility tokens, asset-linked tokens, and e-money tokens.
Similarly, the US has put forth the Responsible Financial Innovation Act to address several issues related to the crypto industry, including the environmental impact of crypto assets, the potential for developing an appropriate taxation system, and the regulation of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) that use digital assets to run their businesses. India could therefore adopt a similar strategy.
Is Union Budget 2023 the Last Hope?
According to a recent analysis by the Delhi-based Esya Centre, India’s existing tax structure might result in a startling loss of local exchange trade volume of about INR 99.3 lakh crore by 2027. The research indicated that following the 30% tax on crypto gains, trade volume to the tune of INR 32,000 crore has already shifted from Indian exchanges to foreign platforms.
Indian Bitcoin investors have urged the government to reconsider current income tax regulations to make cryptocurrency investment more appealing. Not only is this necessary given the recent explosion in cryptocurrency values, but many Indian investors are also sitting on lifetime profits that may be taxed, which may discourage them from making additional investments in the future. Favorable tax regulations would also guarantee the sector’s survival and expansion. In light of this, it is important to use the US as an example, where restrictions have been put in place to safeguard investor interests. The minimal deal size and market volatility protection provided by these regulations will increase investor confidence and trust in the industry.
Favorable legislation would also help India get closer to holding a larger portion of the global crypto investment market in addition to a secure environment. Favorable policies are required to encourage both foreign and domestic investors to participate in cryptocurrency ventures given the country’s enormous potential to become a key participant in the industry.
Clarity on taxation and regulatory matters is crucial in the next Union Budget. This would be a step further in understanding the many use cases of cryptos and creating progressive rules that could be appropriately followed. Additionally, it’s critical to understand the consequences of TDS/TCS, GST, and appropriate tax rates for the purchase and sale of cryptos.
The Indian leadership has long understood that new technologies like blockchain should be handled in a way that is unified internationally rather than relying on ineffective piecemeal solutions for various national jurisdictions. Given the intrinsic borderlessness of virtual digital assets (VDAs), India should think about classifying these assets as a “commodity” or distinct asset class that will be governed by a separate organization, either an already-existing one or a brand-new one founded just for this reason.
This will facilitate the creation of an ecosystem for investor protection that is tightly regulated and contains tried-and-true disclosures, protocols, and certifications. The government can also create specific protections and start the required certification processes to promote transparency in VDA-related transactions. By doing this, the efficient operation and security exchange of VDAs until the international community can achieve a higher level of clarity regarding crypto assets.
Will the G20 Change the Game?
The crypto regulatory strategy that India would favor could be reflected in the upcoming Union Budget and subsequently debated within the G-20. Crypto laws would increase accountability and transparency in the ecosystem, laying a solid platform for the growth of the sector.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has prioritized the creation of a comprehensive global regulatory framework to reduce the risks associated with cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and decentralized finance (DeFi) technologies as part of India’s G20 leadership.