India's Crypto Industry Advocacy Body Disbanded

The Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council was the country's only crypto lobbyist group.

AccessTimeIconJul 14, 2022 at 8:13 a.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 3:36 p.m. UTC
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The Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC), the only advocacy body representing the interests of India's crypto industry, has been disbanded by its parent organization, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), according to an official statement sent over WhatsApp.

The IAMAI made the decision without discussing the matter with the BACC, people with knowledge of the decision said.

"The Internet and Mobile Association of India has stated that it is dissolving the Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council, which the association created and nurtured for four years. The association was forced to take the decision in light of the fact that a resolution of the regulatory environment for the industry is still very uncertain and that the association would like to utilize its limited resources for other emerging digital sectors, which make a more immediate and direct contribution to digital India, notably, deepening financial inclusion and promoting a central bank-issued digital currency (CBDC),” the statement said.

A source cited a lack of maturity among crypto founders when dealing with the government and inaction around critical matters despite prompting by India's parliamentary finance body. The IAMAI felt it was risking its reputation and credibility earned over years of working with new industries and it was time the crypto industry recognized it needed to change its approach, a person familiar with the matter said.

The move is another blow to India's crypto industry, which has been hit by stiff taxes, payment processors cutting off exchanges, trading volumes crashing and a global bear market.

"It is unfortunate that this has happened when things have become difficult," an industry source said.

The move was announced as a "collective decision" in a video conference call with industry stakeholders and representatives of crypto exchanges.

"We were told that the IAMAI has distanced itself from advocacy for crypto exchanges," one of the people familiar with the call said. As for what the decision meant for the industry, "We did not get a straight answer," the person said.

Differences had emerged within the IAMAI and some members of the BACC on how to react to the new taxes on crypto trading. Some industry participants felt a legal challenge was the best way forward, a view the IAMAI didn't support.

UPDATE (July 15, 09:07 UTC): Clarifies purpose of industry body in headline, first paragraph; reorders and tweaks wording throughout.

UPDATE (July 15, 14:40 UTC): Changes sourcing from people familiar to official statement.


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Amitoj Singh

Amitoj Singh is CoinDesk's regulatory reporter covering India. He holds BTC and ETH below CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.

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