For Indian crypto buffs, the Supreme Court’s pandemic eve lifting of a central bank ban on coin trading was like a big bang flag-off. But digital token buyers who surfed giddy waves set off by global gushes of covid-relief liquidity should have known that neither easy money nor off-radar acquisitions would last. State scrutiny of the cryptosphere took time to begin, but it has. Deal tracking for tax began on 1 July. Now an Enforcement Directorate probe of crypto exchanges has left nerves taut. As reported, early findings suggest patchy data-keeping by a few crypto platforms. In some cases, know-your-customer norms may have been flouted, with anonymous transactions done from overseas in violation of our foreign exchange law. Other irregularities are being looked into as well. It’s crucial that all such platforms operate within legal bounds. For years, crypto has been whispered about as a way to stash money away in secrecy. What was once done via trade invoice fudging could now be done through a web of online dealings, went the suspicion. Masked trails are not easy to uncover. Crypto regulation is needed just for Indian capital controls to adapt. Let’s not lose further time on this.
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