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Crypto ads and sponsors banned from women’s cricket league in India

Indian authorities once again demonstrated their tough stance on cryptocurrencies with a preemptive ban on crypto advertising and sponsorships in the local women’s cricket league. 

As reported by Planet Sport on Feb. 14, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) sent a 68-page advisory to the Women’s Premier League teams, specifying the activities which couldn’t be advertised. In the document, cryptocurrencies were mentioned along with the gambling and tobacco industries:

“No franchisee shall undertake a partnership or any kind of association with an entity that is in any way connected/related to an entity that is involved/operates, directly or indirectly, in the cryptocurrency sector.“

This follows a previous ban for the men’s cricket Premier League, introduced back in 2022. Before the ban, the Indian Premier League had collaborated at least with two local crypto exchanges — CoinSwitch Kuber and CoinDCX. Coincidentally, in March 2022, the crypto businesses decided not to advertise in the Premier League due to responsibility concerns.

Home to an estimated 115 million cryptocurrency investors, in 2022, India introduced two laws demanding crippling taxes on crypto-related unrealized gains and transactions and requiring its citizens to pay a 30% tax on unrealized crypto gains.

Related: India in ‘no hurry’ for CBDC as digital rupee pilot onboards 50K users

Some investors expected a change this year to ease the pressure on the crypto sector, but the national budget for 2023 didn’t deliver. The country’s finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, believes in a global regulatory framework on crypto, which is why the Indian crypto regulatory regime is unlikely to shift autonomously.

Crypto advertising became a hot topic for global regulators and enforcement agencies amid a series of failures and bankruptcies of large platforms. In the United Kingdom, newly proposed advertising rules could potentially see executives of crypto firms face up to two years of prison for failing to meet certain requirements around promotion.