Cryptocurrency News

Supreme Court lifts the ban on Crypto dealings in its landmark judgment

On Wednesday, Supreme court benched by Justices Rohinton Nariman, Aniruddha Bose and V Ramasubramanian delivered a judgment lifting the ban imposed on cryptocurrency trading which RBI had imposed. 

Since 2013, the RBI had been warning cryptocurrency dealers and users to avoid the use of cryptocurrencies so that the payment systems of the country are not compromised. It had administered a blanket ban on various crypto dealings which became effective from July 2018. RBI warned the banks to withdraw all banking transactions with business entities and individuals who are dealing in the currency. RBI intended to secure the financial foundations of the country which might shake up the entire system. 

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) was rooting for a lift on the ban based on the several petitions received from different stakeholders. IAMAI was of the opinion that cryptocurrency did not come under the category of currency because it is more of a commodity. It outrightly asserted that RBI is not authorized to impose any ban especially when there is no definite law restricting it. 

IAMAI – a non-profit body has some eclectic names in its membership namely Yahoo! India, Apple, eBay, Unocoin and Etsy and is a body representing the concerns of industry customers, investors, and shareholders. 

In the landmark ruling, the Justices ruled that RBI’s bid to ban the currency is inordinate. Arguments also gesticulated that RBI has-proclaimed it had the right to intervene and that crypto is a digital exchange currency, but IAMAI’s counsel Ashim Sood argued that it is a double-edged sword with it acting as a medium of exchange and also a valued commodity. He argued that RBI had no area of authority to impose the ban on firms that are providing services to businesses powered by cryptocurrency. 

Ever since Crypto dealings began in India, it has been facing many hurdles. The ruling by the Supreme Court might be the unburdening of these hurdles. In the fall of 2019, the government prohibited the drafting of the bill banning the use of Crypto in India. Earlier it envisioned a big dream of digitizing Rupee and Crypto was in its way but it seems like the ruling is slowly unlayering crypto and its potential in the future. 

Photo Credit – Photo by Vikas Sawant from Pexels

Greece Supreme Court accused of blatant violation of accused’s rights in Extradition case

A Supreme Court bench constituted to hear a case of extradition against Russian Alexander Vinnik has been accused of violating the accused’s right to a fair trial.  The accused allegedly operated the defunct crypto-exchange BTC-e and has been in custody since July 2017. At the time, the United States’ government accused him of laundering between 4 to 9 Billion USD via the exchange. After Vinnik was detained, Russia sought his extradition. France also sent a similar request in June and Greece is pressing criminal charges against him.

Supreme Court Appeal against original extradition order

The case was heard at first instance in the Thessaloniki where the court ruled that he be extradited to France. Aggrieved with the decision, Mr. Vinnik lodged an appeal to the Supreme Court of Greece known as the ‘Aeropag.’ In the appeal, he was represented by his attorney of record, Mr. Zoe Konstantopoulou.

Addressing the court on Monday, Mr. Konstantopoulou submitted that the judges of the Greek Supreme Court had blatantly breached the rights of the accused. Being a Russian national, the accused had the right of privy to all court documents in his case translated to a language he understands. In this case, the court had been served with a request letter for extradition to France for Mr. Vinnik.

Discriminatory treatment

The accused’s attorney, Mr. Konstantopoulou was quoted as saying, “You have violated the rights of Alexander Vinnik, who hasn’t received an official translation of the French request. The documents haven’t been translated into Russian, they have no seals and signatures … You only employ this practice towards Vinnik because he is a Russian. You wouldn’t do this with any Greek, or EU citizen.”

Following this objection, the court adjourned and will proceed with the hearing, set for November 29.

Giving investment advice not a crime

Mr. Vinnik was apprehended on 25th July, 2017 in Greece on a warrant issued by the U.S. Justice Department. It followed his indictment by a California court together with the BTC-e exchange for among other offences operating an unlicensed money exchanger and money laundering. He is strongly linked to the Mt. Gox hacking and various counts of money laundering. In May, he confessed to charges of fraud and money laundering.

In his defense, Vinnik said that he was only a technical expert at Btc-e. “I gave some advice to that platform. That’s not a crime, and the exchange itself is not a crime, it is just a platform for exchanging cryptocurrency.” CRYPTO IS COMING