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Reserve Bank of India Forms Unit on Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain, AI
**The central bank of India has reportedly formed a special unit tasked to track emerging technologies such as those related to cryptocurrencies. Its members will be expected to research, draft rules, and, in the future, supervise the development of digital assets, blockchain and artificial intelligence applications. **
RBI Team to Track Crypto Developments
In an obvious attempt to improve its own capacity in the field, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has gathered experts in a newly formed unit that will be responsible for tracking crypto, blockchain and artificial intelligence technologies, The Economic Times reported quoting two sources familiar with RBI’s plans.
According to the report, the new unit will be tasked to research the emerging tech but also prepare rules and supervise the sector at some point in the future. One of the individuals cited in the article commented:
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.
No formal announcement about the new team has been made yet and the RBI has not responded to media queries for more details. Nevertheless, the publication notes that the unit was formed about a month ago and the bank’s management has already appointed its leader.
The outlet also quotes another expert on the topic. According to Piyush Singh, managing director of financial services for Asia Pacific and Africa at Accenture, unless regulators are part of the ecosystem, they understand and have a clear indication of what is accepted and what is not, they can neither protect the regulated industry nor the consumers who use it. Singh believes the RBI is doing the right thing at a time when new technologies are changing business models.
Researching, Despite Warning and Banning
The news about the forming of the research unit comes after multiple warnings against engaging in crypto transactions issued by the Indian central bank. In December of last year the RBI highlighted a number of crypto-related risks of economic, financial and legal character. This year, the bank ordered all regulated financial institutions to quit providing services to businesses and individuals dealing in cryptocurrencies.
The ban went into effect in July, despite attempts by representatives of the crypto sector to challenge it in court. In two hearings of the filed petitions, the Supreme Court of India did not grant a stay against the ban and eventually scheduled the final hearing for September 11.
In the meantime, Indian officials have been working on a regulatory framework for the crypto industry. Early statements that the draft regulations would be ready in July were later followed by another estimate – the Indian government is now expected to issue detailed cryptocurrency guidelines by September, as news.Bitcoin.com reported. Consultations with stakeholders are underway.
Do you think the RBI will eventually change its attitude towards cryptocurrencies? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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