On March 4, 2020, the Supreme Court of India (“Court”) in Internet and Mobile Association of India v. Reserve Bank of India (“Judgement”) set aside the circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) on April 6, 2018 (“Circular”). This Judgment marks the second occasion, in recent times, when the Supreme Court has reversed a policy decision of the RBI . The Circular had restricted all entities regulated by the RBI, including nationalised banks, scheduled commercial banks, NBFCs, cooperative banks, payment system operators and other intermediaries (“Regulated Entities”) from dealing in or providing services for facilitating ‘any person or entity dealing with, or settling’ virtual currencies.
Thus, while the Circular did not expressly proscribe peer-to-peer trading in virtual currencies, it severely restricted the conversion of virtual currency into fiat currencies and impaired the ability of businesses which dealt with virtual currencies to access financial services in India.
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