Registering an Indian crypto company until recently seemed utter nonsense, as India in 2018 declared to the world its categorical rejection of any cryptocurrency. At that time the country's Central Bank banned cryptocurrency trading, which many believed was a ‘historic sentence’. Central Bank officials justified their decision by protecting national interests from the dangers of cryptocurrencies, which cannot be considered currencies at all because they do not exist in physical form and do not have a government seal.
Today the situation has changed radically. The Supreme Court of India in March this year lifted a two-year ban on cryptocurrency transactions in India, and now it is possible not only to hold an ICO in India but also a full blockchain reboot.
ICO registration in India
At present, most ICOs, particularly those targeting the Indian market, are not registered in India, but in countries such as Switzerland and Singapore, where the cryptocurrency regime was initially more favorable. But since this year, registering an ICO in India has become easier and many have chosen not to miss this opportunity.
There are two possible ways to sell tokens that can be introduced by private market participants - currencies and securities.
ICO: cryptocurrencies as securities
India is still debating whether ICOs can be considered securities transactions. The Securities Agreement Act provides an exhaustive definition that transactions in securities in India may include:
- shares, bonds, debt obligations or other marketable securities of a registered Indian company;
- government securities;
- other instruments that can be considered securities by the authorities;
- rights or interests in securities.
The above-mentioned instruments have a share capital. However, it is not necessary that all token offers be supported by an underlying asset. Even if they do not fall strictly under the terms "shares" or "debt obligations", they may fall under the expression "other marketable securities" that can be freely transferred. Therefore, there should be no restrictions on the transfer of cryptocurrencies offered through ICO in India.
For cryptocurrencies to enter the securities sector, tokens must be issued by a registered company in India. However, there are cases when assets are issued by non-corporate organizations and may not be covered by securities.
With regard to the registration and regulation of “collective investment schemes”, such an instrument first needs to be identified. This means that in order to determine whether an instrument is a “collective investment scheme”, the Court must use the Howie test. Both security tokens and utility tokens meet Howie's test criteria, making them securities.
India has taken a big step in the direction of other progressive countries that not only allow cryptocurrency trading but have also started issuing their own virtual currencies. The world's third-largest economy can now use cryptocurrencies as legal financial instruments, and the Indian government intends to enter the digital asset market and compete with decentralized financial instruments.
If you still have questions about ICO regulation in India, you can make an appointment with our legal advisors and find out the current requirements of the legislation of the chosen jurisdiction. We are ready to provide you with the necessary consulting services and comprehensive assistance when registering a crypto company in India. Please reach out to us by filling out the quick contact form below.