Indian Court Rules Crypto Dealings Not Illegal in Landmark Decision

Twitter icon  •  Published 4 weeks ago  •  Nikolas Sargeant

The Orissa High Court in India has ruled that mere cryptocurrency dealings cannot be treated as illegal under existing laws, providing clarity on the legal status of crypto transactions in the country.

In a landmark ruling, the Orissa High Court in India has determined that cryptocurrency dealings are not illegal under Indian law. This decision arose from a case involving individuals accused of fraud through a Ponzi scheme.

Justice Sasikanta Mishra clarified that cryptocurrency is not considered money under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act or a deposit under the Odisha Protection of Interests of Depositors Act, thus deeming mere cryptocurrency dealings not offenses under these laws.

'Dealing in Crypto Cannot Be Treated as Illegal'

The Orissa High Court's ruling sheds light on the legal status of cryptocurrency dealings in India. In a case involving two individuals accused of defrauding people through a Ponzi or multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme, Justice Mishra stated, "Cryptocurrency is not money within the meaning of Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, and the investment made by the general public in cryptocurrency cannot partake the nature of deposit within the meaning of OPID Act."

The judge further added, "Mere dealing in cryptocurrency cannot be treated as illegal in any manner. Hence, it cannot be treated as an offense under the OPID Act."

The accused allegedly operated under a fictitious cryptocurrency company, luring people to invest in a digital currency called Yes World Token. They purportedly promised substantial returns and bonuses based on recruiting new members, raising concerns about a Ponzi-like scheme.

While acknowledging the investment method's potential issues, Justice Mishra noted the absence of evidence indicating the accused dishonestly induced people to deliver property or forged documents. The judge concluded that the charges of cheating and forgery did not appear to be substantiated based on the available evidence.

This ruling provides much-needed clarity on the legal status of cryptocurrency dealings in India, potentially paving the way for further regulatory developments in the rapidly evolving digital asset space.

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Nikolas Sargeant

Nik is a content and public relations specialist with an ever-growing interest in Crypto. He has been published on several leading Crypto and blockchain based news sites. He is currently based in Spain, but hails from the Pacific Northwest in the US.