A barrage of misleading prime-time adverts and little attempt to educate first-time investors scattered across small towns are some of the problems surrounding cryptocurrencies in India. A government plan to present a bill on regulation prompted panic-selling of digital assets earlier this week. The volatility underscores the need for a rapid decision on whether India wants to embrace them or not.
The sexy argument for regulation, rather than a ban, is made by Ashish Singhal, founder of Coinbase-backed CoinSwitch Kuber, a firm boasting some 12 million users and valued at $2 billion. His pitch targets New Delhi's desire to ramp up exports, arguing that cryptocurrencies and their related technology like blockchain allow India to build digital-infrastructure companies today that rich countries will use in the future.
A more straightforward argument for allowing crypto to exist is simply to avoid driving the flourishing trade underground. Either way, as this week's ructions demonstrated, a belated ban will be painful to swallow.