• A brief moment above USD 9,000 but Bitcoin is back around USD 8,850
  • The Indian central bank has confirmed that there will be no bank restrictions on crypto traders
  • An Australian public university has partnered with IBM and others to offer a blockchain postgraduate program

Bitcoin bulls are refusing to let go without a fight, and so a fallback to USD 8,788 (CoinDesk) was followed earlier today by a brief moment above USD 9,000, although prices are back around USD 8,850 right now.

India will be breathing a huge collective sigh of relief today when the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), appeared to finally give in on a black and white answer for banking access to businesses related to crypto or blockchain. RBI had responded to a right to information request from crypto exchange co-founder Harish BV. In its response, it clarified that it imposes no restrictions on any banks in the country in providing account and other financial services to traders or companies involved in crypto.

The issue began back in 2018 when RBI put out an official statement that forced all regulated financial institutions from providing financial services to individuals or businesses who transacted in crypto. As a result, firms and traders received written warnings from their banks to cease all such activities or risk having their accounts suspended. Indeed, many people did have their accounts restricted on grounds of having transactions related to crypto.

Many crypto exchanges then shuttered, with some like WazirX, previously one of the biggest in India, moving its entire operations abroad. However, RBI was taken to court on the grounds that the ban had been unconstitutional and a two-year long battle took its way to the Supreme Court, where in March, it finally overturned RBI’s ban, paving the way for crypto business to resume in the world’s second-most populous country.

The situation has improved since then, although RBI had suggested that it would appeal the Supreme Court decision, and earlier, it had still been reported that some banks were still unwilling to serve crypto customers, possibly afraid that the ruling may yet stay in place.

Indian fintech lawyer Mohammed Danish pointed out that the court’s overturn of the ban did not include an order for the central bank to notify banks and request compliance.

But now, in reply to Harish BV’s information request filed on 25 April 2020, RBI wrote:

“…as on date, no such prohibition exists.”

For Harish BV, this was clarification, and confirmation that 1.3 billion Indians could freely use banking services even if they were in the crypto industry. He said:

“After Supreme Court scrapping RBI’s Ban on crypto and RTI’s reply from RBI, it is clear that there is no need for any blockchain or crypto company to register out of India.”

On another continent across the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, there is also bullish news for blockchain, with Australian public research university RMIT University offering two new postgraduate programs in cybersecurity and blockchain technology.

The nine-month programs would be offered in partnership with IBM, Palo Alto Networks, and Stone & Chalk, and will have its first intake in October this year,  to offer a graduate certificate in cybersecurity and graduate certificate in blockchain-enabled business.

According to press information, the university introduced these new programs in direct response to a growing demand from the industry in blockchain and cybersecurity, with reports suggesting that the cybersecurity industry would grow three times to be worth AUD 6 billion (USD 4 billion) by 2026, ushering in some 18,000 new jobs. Blockchain itself will also be growing at an impressive rate, with 80% of annual projections. The demand is far outstripping supply, with only 5% of managers able to locate talents in this field.

RMIT Online CEO Helen Souness noted that these emerging sectors had a widening skill gap, saying:

“The unpredictable nature of our current environment requires us to strengthen and accelerate our understanding of the digital landscape. Cybersecurity and blockchain technologies are emerging as business-critical skills and we are delivering the training that provides those skills in our workforce.”

 

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