Former Coinbase CTO: India’s crypto ban is like internet ban

Former chief technology officer at Coinbase Balaji Srinivasan warned that India’s proposed ban on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies would be like banning the internet.

Former Coinbase chief technology officer Balaji Srinivasan believes India’s proposed ban on cryptocurrencies would be tantamount to banning the internet. This could cost the country trillions of US dollars in potential profits.

In an interview with The CapTable, Srinivasan said that a Crypto Trader blanket ban on Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies would merely divert revenue to surrounding Asian markets. This would mean a „trillion dollar“ mistake for India:

„It’s really important that the ban (India’s plan to ban owning, trading, mining or investing in cryptocurrency) doesn’t go through. That would be a trillion dollar mistake for India and I am not exaggerating on that.“

On Thursday, an anonymous senior finance ministry official told Bloomberg that the proposed ban was highly likely.

He revealed that crypto holders would have three to six months to convert their money back into legal tender

The so-called Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies Act was introduced in late January and also lays the foundation for an official digital currency issued and overseen by the Reserve Bank of India.

Srinivasan, who is now an angel investor and entrepreneur, said India could become 20 percent poorer in the next five years than it would otherwise be if the ban goes through. The former general partner at Andreessen Horowitz said a ban on cryptocurrencies would effectively prevent the „financial internet“ from taking root in India:

„India could become 20 per cent poorer than it would otherwise be within five years. It is almost like banning the internet for 5 years. The losses add up a lot. […] That would be a reversal of economic liberalisation in many ways. It would basically be a ban on the financial internet. And it wouldn’t even achieve the desired goal.“

Although the ban is aimed at all cryptocurrency holders, the impact on individuals could be less drastic than on traders and businesses. By using cold-storage wallets and continuing to control their own private keys, Indian citizens could still potentially circumvent any anti-crypto legislation on a small scale. But they would, of course, get into trouble if they tried to withdraw cash.