Cryptocurrency exchange firm Cryptokart has has decided to shut down its operations, the firm’s co-founder Gaurang Poddar said in a LinkedIn post. “We’ve decided to shutdown Cryptokart”, wrote Poddar. The firm was founded in 2017 by Poddar and Mihir Modi. In the comments in response to his post, Poddar said “… since then the general interest in crypto in India has tanked. Also since the govt aren’t going to introduce any regulations and leave it grey for a while, it just makes any long term planning difficult.”

The closing of yet another crypto firm in India is telling of the impact that RBI’s April 5, 2018, directive has had on them. The central bank had directed all regulated entities including banks not to provide services to businesses dealing in virtual currencies (cryptocurrencies) like bitcoins. Before that, in February, during his Budget speech in Parliament, then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the government currently does not consider cryptocurrencies as legal tender and said that the government will take all measures to eliminate the use of crypto assets in the payment system.

RBI’s ban was not backed by independent research or public consultation

Last June, a RTI  response revealed that the RBI’s order on cryptocurrencies was not backed by public consultation or independent research. In a response to the RTI application filed by startup consultant Varun Sethi on April 9, the central bank said it did not have an internal committee for virtual currencies. “The RBI specifically mentions that it conducted no research or consultation before the implementation of the restriction in April. The RBI also responded that no committee was ever formed for analysing the concept of blockchain before the decision,” Sethi said at the time.

Five crypto-exchanges have now shut shop in India

  • Last October, Zebpay shut down its cryptocurrency exchange, saying that it was unable to find a “reasonable way” to conduct its business. It said in a blog post that the RBI’s ban prevented the company and its customers from “transacting business meaningfully”.
  • In March, Coindelta said it would no longer be able to provide exchange services for cryptocurrencies, also blaming the RBI’s directive and the lack of progress in the Supreme Court case.
  • Two months later after this, Coinome announced that it would shut down on May 15.
  • The very next month, in June, cryptocurrency exchange firm Koinex announced that it has decided to shut down all digital assets exchange services and operations