The Securities and Exchange Board of India has sent officials to Japan, the UK, and Switzerland to study cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings from each of the three countries’ financial regulators. The securities watchdog aims to engage with international regulators and gain a deeper understanding of their crypto mechanisms and systems in order to improve its own process.
Officials Sent to Japan, UK, and Switzerland
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) revealed in its annual report 2017-18 that it sent some officials to three countries to study how the regulators there deal with cryptocurrencies.
The report explains,“SEBI on a regular basis enables study tour of SEBI officials to overseas authorities. These study tours help engage with the international regulators and gain [a] deeper understanding of the systems and mechanisms.” The securities watchdog noted that in the past, it “has benefited a lot from these experiences and the knowledge transfer helps improve the processes within SEBI.”
For the fiscal year 2017-18, the regulator detailed:
SEBI organised study tours to Financial Services Agency (FSA) Japan, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) UK, and Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) Switzerland to study initial coin offerings and cryptocurrencies.
RBI Also Observes Foreign Regulators
SEBI is not the only Indian regulator to pay attention to other jurisdictions. Recently, the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), published its annual report for 2017-18 with a section on cryptocurrency. After referencing how a few foreign regulators deal with crypto, the central bank wrote:
On a global level, regulatory responses to cryptocurrency have ranged from a complete clamp down in some jurisdictions to a comparatively ‘light touch regulatory approach’…Japan and South Korea account for the biggest shares of crypto asset markets in the world.
The RBI also confirmed it is “keeping a close watch on cryptocurrency,” reiterating that it issued a circular, banning banks from providing services to crypto businesses.
When the circular was issued in April, Quartz quoted Shubham Yadav, co-founder of Indian crypto exchange Coindelta, commenting that “several firms are looking at registering their head offices out of India.” The news outlet added that these locations include Singapore, Switzerland, Estonia, Malta, Japan, Dubai, and the Cayman Islands.
Crypto Regulations in India
The Indian government has been working on cryptocurrency regulations. According to Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, the proposal was supposed to be ready in July. Garg heads the panel, set up in December last year, tasked with proposing crypto regulations. However, it was reported earlier this month that the regulations are unlikely to be ready before the year-end.
Meanwhile, the country’s supreme court is hearing all petitions against the central bank’s crypto banking ban on September 11. SEBI will also be at the hearing. The crypto industry is hopeful that the court will lift the ban imposed by the RBI.
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