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The Reserve Bank of India has issued a clarification for banks and the general public at large, stating that its earlier circular on the prohibition of usage of virtual currencies including bitcoins is no longer valid as the same was set aside by the Supreme Court on 4th March 2020. Read the official clarification issued, below:

RBI/2021-22/45
DOR. AML.REC 18 /14.01.001/2021-22

May 31, 2021

All Commercial and Co-operative Banks / Payments Banks/ Small Finance Banks /
NBFCs / Payment System Providers

Madam / Dear Sir,

RBI clarifies banks cannot prohibit dealing in cryptocurrency

Customer Due Diligence for transactions in Virtual Currencies (VC)

It has come to our attention through media reports that certain banks/ regulated entities have cautioned their customers against dealing in virtual currencies by making a reference to the RBI circular DBR.No.BP.BC.104/08.13.102/2017-18 dated April 06, 2018. Such references to the above circular by banks/ regulated entities are not in order as this  circular was set aside by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on March 04, 2020 in the matter of Writ Petition (Civil) No.528 of 2018 (Internet and Mobile Association of India v. Reserve Bank of India). As such, in view of the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the circular is no longer valid from the date of the Supreme Court judgement, and therefore cannot be cited or quoted from.

2. Banks, as well as other entities addressed above, may, however, continue to carry out customer due diligence processes in line with regulations governing standards for Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Combating of Financing of Terrorism (CFT) and obligations of regulated entities under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, (PMLA), 2002 in addition to ensuring compliance with relevant provisions under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) for overseas remittances.

Yours faithfully,

(Shrimohan Yadav)
Chief General Manager

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