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Bitcoin and Ether Are Rising. India’s Crypto Ban May Not Be So Bad.

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One crypto executive is optimistic India will fall short of an outright ban on private digital assets.

Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

The two leading digital assets were rising Thursday amid optimism that new rules for cryptocurrencies planned by the Indian government would fall short of an outright ban.

Both Bitcoin and Ether came under pressure Wednesday, as markets reacted to India’s intention to ban most cryptos as part of a plan to introduce a digital currency regulated by its central bank. The government has brought forward a bill to that effect to be considered in the parliamentary session beginning Nov. 29.

The bill “seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India, however, it allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses,” according to a bulletin posted Tuesday on the parliamentary website.

But not everyone is so pessimistic about how this may turn out.

“My belief is that we will have some kind of coherent regulation, but on the tougher side,” Avinash Shekhar, the co-CEO of Zebpay—an Indian cryptocurrency exchange—told CNBC Thursday.

Shekhar told the media outlet that there have “been lots of positive vibes from the government.”

“We met the finance committee of Parliament around two weeks back,” the crypto executive said. “The message or the feelers which we are getting from the government is that they’re looking for some kind of regulation—strict regulation, but not a complete ban.”

Bitcoin, which is the largest crypto with a market capitalization of $1.1 trillion, rose 4% Thursday to around $58,700, up from lows near $56,000 reached Wednesday, according to price data from CoinDesk. Bitcoin has fallen some 15% from its all time high of nearly $69,000 hit earlier this month. 

Ether, the second-largest digital asset, was similarly 4% higher to $4,450, but remains more than 8% down from its early-November record high near $4,900.

The global rise in Bitcoin and Ether was even more pronounced across Indian cryptocurrency markets, where both digital assets surged more than 9% Thursday on Wazir, a domestic crypto exchange.