LCI backs cryptocurrency as a legitimate payment option

The cryptocurrency industry in India has been somewhat precarious lately, with a great deal of uncertainty regarding its future. A small glimmer of hope for the future global currency is starting to shine, however, from an unlikely source. Cryptocurrency was listed as a legal payment option last month in legislation being considered to legalize sports gambling in the country.

In a report entitled “Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India,” the Law Commission of India (LCI) is considering digital payments – including crypto – in preparation of the legalization of sports gambling. The report was drafted following investigations by police into allegations of million-dollar bets on the part of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which discovered that IPL cricket matches were the target of “black money” for gambling, effectively bypassing the government’s attempts to control illegal gambling.

Upon the revelation that the controls were ineffective, Indian Supreme Court judges submitted a proposal to legalize sports gambling in the country. It appointed the Lodha Committee, in conjunction with the Board of Control for Cricket India, to explore the recommendation.

The committee reported that there is a distinct, but subtle, boundary between recreational betting and match fixing. It asserted that it would be possible for match fixing to still be illegal while making recreational betting a legal activity that could help to generate tax revenue.

The LCI, in its report, put cryptocurrency in the same category as credit and debit cards, as well as Internet banking. It said, “Similar restrictions should also be prescribed for the purpose of the amount one would be allowed to stake while using electronic money facilities of the likes of credit cards, debit cards, net-banking, VCs, etc.”

According to Nischal Shetty, founder of peer-to-peer crypto exchange WazirX, “It is the first time that a body appointed by the government has given recognition to virtual currencies that they have value and can be used for a transaction. Therefore, it is a very positive sign, especially considering the report has come out after a lot of deliberation.”

The crypto community had expected to hear the court’s decision on the subject of cryptocurrency this month. However, they will now have to wait until September 11 at the earliest.

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