The Internet and Mobile Association of India, a major Indian tech industry lobby, is disbanding its Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council, practically the sole group able to represent the crypto industry’s interests to the Indian government. This essentially deals a blow to a major conduit for the crypto industry to interface with the Indian government.
While an industry source has confirmed the development to Entrackr, two IAMAI executives had no immediate comment on the disbanding when contacted by us; the body has not issued any press statement on the council’s future. We will update this post with any statement they make. WazirX, CoinDCX and CoinSwitch are significant members of the BACC.
The IAMAI has close ties to the government, and the crypto industry has stuck out as a sore thumb, as its very existence is under significant pressure from both market headwinds and government scrutiny and taxation. The dismantling of the council represents a significant setback to the industry’s voice to the government.
The last time the IAMAI published a BACC press release on its website was nearly five months ago, in March, and activity on the council has been quiet since then, even as scrutiny by tax authorities like the Enforcement Directorate intensifies into the crypto space.
IAMAI’s influence with the government allows it to represent several tech industry spaces, like fintech firms, content publishers, social media companies, and edtech majors. While each of these industries faces growing regulatory pressures, the crypto industry sticks out as a sore thumb given that the government doesn’t appear to have even decided if the space should stay legal yet.
The industry body under which the BACC comes has not always been successful at staving off government regulation — self-regulatory systems by streaming services proposed by IAMAI have previously been rejected by the government in favor of outright regulation — but the group generally succeeds at softening regulatory actions and coming up with industry-wide standards that persuade the government to defer action.
This is particularly the case with advertising, with the crypto industry, ed-tech players and the real money gaming space coming up with guidelines to govern advertising of these services with the government’s blessing.
While the influence IAMAI has is significant, it is always treading a fine line between defying regulators’ goals and upholding legitimate industry concerns. It appears that the crypto industry’s practices — and lapses — may have made it difficult for the IAMAI to continue providing institutional support to the former.
Even if the crypto industry’s body continues under independent management, it may be hard for firms to establish legitimacy and unity with the government.