The Supreme Court’s Cryptocurrency Judgment and Beyond

(in association with the Internet and Mobile Association of India)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020



Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of India set aside the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) circular prohibiting banks and other RBI-regulated entities from facilitating virtual currency / cryptocurrency / crypto-asset transactions. The Court found that the circular was a disproportionate restriction on fundamental rights and that the banking system was the lifeline of cryptocurrency exchanges. After the judgment, banks are no longer prohibited from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions, subject to existing due diligence norms. Nishith Desai Associates is honoured to have represented the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the lead petitioner in the case and the leading industry body in the sphere.

The judgment is a shot in the arm both for blockchain system participants as well as cryptocurrency traders, since cryptocurrency is the fuel for public blockchains. The industry will now need to continue to show that cryptocurrency trade and blockchain activity involving cryptocurrency can be carried on in a safe and responsible manner with self-imposed safeguards. At the same time, the government authorities will also need to consider whether to introduce a new regime to regulate the cryptocurrency industry.

Nishith Desai Associates invites you to a webinar in association with IAMAI to discuss the future of cryptocurrency and blockchain in India.

Our experts from the Technology Law team, who represented IAMAI in the Supreme Court, will discuss, along with IAMAI executives, a number of issues arising post-judgment, including:

- Explaining the judgment and analyzing the legal position after it;

- Implications for the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry;

- Legal considerations in setting up a cryptocurrency / blockchain business in India;

- Anticipating future policy steps for regulation.


Our writing on the judgment has been published in the Business Standard (available here) and in the Financial Express (available here ).


Gaurav Chopra and Neha Bajaj

Vice-President and Assistant Vice-President respectively


Gaurav and Neha are Vice-President and Assistant Vice-President respectively at IAMAI and were closely involved with its successful efforts in the recent Supreme Court case, as well as with its Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Council in general. IAMAI is the leading industry body acting as a voice for the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, and has also been influential in the spheres of fintech regulation more broadly and online content regulation. It was established in 2004 by the leading Internet-based technology entities. In the last 15 years has come to effectively address the challenges facing the digital and online industry including mobile content and services, online publishing, mobile advertising, online advertising, ecommerce and mobile & digital payments among others.

Vaibhav Parikh

Head – US Operations, Leader – Corporate Transaction and Technology Law Practice,

Nishith Desai Associates

Vaibhav Parikh heads the U.S office of Nishith Desai Associates. He also leads the practice areas of Technology, Mergers and Acquisitions, Private Equity, and Crypto-Assets and Blockchain. Vaibhav often plays the role of key advisor to leading crypto-asset exchanges in India and leading financial dailies often turn to him for his views on the subject. Over the years, Vaibhav has been advising many leading Indian e-commerce companies in their operations from a legal and regulatory standpoint. Tying in his expertise in advising several private equity players and venture capitalists in navigating their way to successful investments, Vaibhav has facilitated some of India’s largest e-commerce transactions.

Alipak Banerjee

Leader - International Dispute Resolution

Nishith Desai Associates

Alipak is a Leader in the International Dispute Resolution and Investigations practice at Nishith Desai Associates, New Delhi. He has experience representing clients in institutional and ad hoc arbitrations and litigation proceedings in various jurisdictions, including India, Singapore, Hong Kong and London. He has advised and represented clients engaged in media, entertainment, oil and gas, energy, manufacturing, funds, and financial services sectors. He is admitted to the Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa and is an Honorary Overseas Member of the Commercial Bar Association, UK (COMBAR). He is also a part of the Steering Committee at Young MCIA, and a member of YSIAC, YIAG and Young ICCA. Recently, he was nominated as an ‘Emerging Leader’ in 2019 RSG India Rankings. He was part of the NDA team representing the Internet and Mobile Association of India in its recent successful Supreme Court case on virtual currency.

Jaideep Reddy

Leader - Crypto-assets and Blockchain Practice

Nishith Desai Associates

Jaideep Reddy is a senior member of the firm’s Technology Law practice and co-heads its Crypto-Assets and Blockchain practice. He specializes in the legal issues relating to crypto-assets and blockchain technology, privacy and cybersecurity, payments, and other emerging technology law issues. He has led many of the firm’s efforts in the blockchain space, including authoring its research papers on blockchain technology, suggesting a novel regulatory framework for the industry as well as a self-regulatory code of conduct, and its successful representation of the Internet and Mobile Association of India in its Supreme Court challenge to the restriction on virtual currency trading. He is admitted to practice law in India and California, U.S.A. He holds a Masters in Law from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and a B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) from the W.B. National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata, India.