The sour relationship between financial institutions in India and cryptocurrencies have gotten worse in the past week, with banks in the country now indirectly asking customers to choose either fiat or crypto.
A Twitter update from an Indian crypto enthusiast confirmed that Kotak Mahindra Bank and some other institutions are guilty of adopting stricter measures to discourage crypto adoption.
The update included a screenshot of the term’s and condition page provided by the bank for new and existing customers, with one line explicitly asking people to declare that they “will not deal with any transactions related to Crypto-currency including Bitcoins.”
If a user decides to go against the mandate, a latter part of the document gives the bank authority to close the customer’s account without contacting them.
To worsen the matter, another user confirmed that the same bank is having a message discouraging usage of virtual currencies on their ATM screens. In part the notice warns that,
“For any such transactions, the bank shall be acting in accordance with the regulatory guidelines which include closing (an) account without further intimation.”
Despite these warning, comments under the thread indicate that crypto enthusiasts still exist in India, as most people frowned at the news while some suggested that they could even trade Bitcoin under the nose of the bank via peer-to-peer basis.
The latest development comes off as little surprise since the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has since 2017 instructed banks to avoid doing business with cryptocurrency exchanges.
However, as we reported earlier, there is still a big chance that India will legalize cryptocurrencies before the end of this year.
A top official working with an interdisciplinary committee set up by the Indian government to look into cryptocurrencies revealed in December that “there is a general consensus (within the committee) that cryptocurrency cannot be dismissed as completely illegal.”
He added that cryptocurrency needs to be legalized with strong riders and that deliberations are on. The committee is expected to submit a report to relevant authorities sometime in February, thus paving the way for a regulatory framework to emerge.
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