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HANDS TIED

India’s regressive stance is keeping its crypto community from helping Ukraine

Anti-government demonstrators walk past a currency exchange office in Kiev
REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
Anti-government demonstrators walk past a currency exchange office in Kiev February 7, 2014. Ukraine’s central bank tried to dampen fears about its currency on Friday…
  • Mimansa Verma
By Mimansa Verma

Reporter, Finance and Economy

Published Last updated

The global cryptocurrency community has come together to support war-torn Ukraine in the form of donations. Since the start of the Russian invasion, nearly $20 million in bitcoin, ether, and other tokens have poured in.

Those in India, however, have their hands tied due to the country’s tax laws.

India’s tryst with crypto donations

India’s crypto community feels it could extend a helping hand towards Ukraine at a time when the Russia-Ukraine war has disrupted banking services for its people.

In April 2021, when India was struggling with the devastating second wave of covid-19, ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, among others, came forward to support the country’s covid relief fund for medical facilities. The donations haven’t stopped since then. So far, the India Crypto Relief Fund, founded by Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal in April 2021 has collected a total of $57.11 million at the prevailing market rate.

However, experts and crypto enthusiasts cite the Narendra Modi government’s regressive tax policy and lack of banking infrastructure as

hurdles

for any crypto payments to help during the ongoing war.

“There are very less payment gateways that are supporting crypto payments. Indian banking partners are also not coming forward…So as an Indian, I won’t be able to do a seamless transaction to the wallet address put forward by the Ukraine government,” Sharat Chandra, a Bengaluru-based blockchain and emerging tech evangelist said.

Analysts also see the 1% tax-deductible at source, applicable to every single transaction involving cryptocurrency, along with a lack of tax exemptions, as a problem.

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