India's Crypto Economy
India's Crypto Economy is a brand-new weekly newsletter (delivered every Thursday) from Inc42 to help you decode the rapidly growing crypto economy and its implications on business, work and life. We launched this newsletter on the 4th anniversary of our weekly series “Crypto This Week” which completed 190 editions in May, 2021.
“Innovation comes first, regulation follows,” said Wei Zhou, the chief financial officer (CFO) of global cryptocurrency exchange Binance. Zhou was speaking at a panel discussion organised by CREBACO Global, a credit rating agency for exchanges, blockchains and coin offerings. The panel discussion brought together crypto stakeholders in India to discuss the way forward for the cryptocurrency industry, as well as unite voices and arguments against the proposed crypto ban in the country.
While talking about the regulatory vacuum for cryptocurrencies in India, Zhou compared it to a “Wild Wild West feel,” adding that Binance would be open to working with regulatory agencies in India to address all concerns.
“We’ve always tried to work with governments and regulatory agencies the world over and would be open to doing the same in India,” he said.
“Whenever there are actual regulations that come, we’ll work with lawyers and regulators to ensure that we don’t breach those policies.”
Zhou added that owning cryptocurrencies could bring several tangible benefits to emerging economics such as India by empowering users with the financial freedom of investing in assets of a different kind and growing their income. He also maintained that while governments would eventually come around, when they do, Binance would want to be one of the key infrastructure providers for building a safe and reliable cryptocurrency environment in countries such as India.
Last year, Binance had announced its entry in India’s cryptocurrency sector by acquiring Mumbai-based crypto exchange WazirX.
Also present for the panel discussion was Kashif Raza, the cofounder of Crypto Kanoon, a platform for blockchain regulatory news and analysis in India. Raza shed some light on the perils of fake news in the cryptocurrency space and said that the industry as a whole should stay warned and ensure that they don’t fall for clickbait news.
It is worth noting that just last week, a Bloomberg report, citing sources, had talked about an impending ban on cryptocurrencies in India, as it had claimed that the government would bring in a bill to ban all cryptocurrencies in the Monsoon session of the parliament which was underway then. Subsequently, Inc42 spoke to some crypto stakeholders who allayed the fears by expressing confidence that the Indian government wouldn’t make a decision in haste.
During the panel discussion, the moderator Sidharth Sogani, who is the founder and CEO of CREBACO Global, compared the advent of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology and the opportunities it presents to that of information technology in the 1990s.
“In the early ’90s, multibillion-dollar companies were built in the US and other countries. India did not have information technology until the 2000s. We lost a lot of talent. We don’t want the same to happen for the blockchain and crypto space,” he said.
You can view the full panel discussion here.
At the time of writing, Bitcoin was trading $10,748, registering a 2.4% jump from last week’s price of $10,748. Its market cap was $199 Bn.
Ethereum was trading at $357, up marginally from last week’s price of $342. Its market cap was $40 Bn.
Delhi Police Probe Crypto Exchange Scam
This week, the Delhi Police is investigating an alleged cryptocurrency exchange scam, believed to have operated by one Pluto Exchange, which marketed itself as a cryptocurrency investment firm, and had its offices in Connaught Place. One of the complainants was asked one of the company’s founders to invest in a new cryptocurrency which Pluto Exchange had launched and told him that he would receive 20-30% returns on his investment. After doing so and investing about INR 5 lakhs in the scheme but not receiving any payout, the complainant took the matter to the company’s officials, only to find that its offices had shifted from India to Dubai. In the preliminary investigation, it has been found that the 43 complainants had invested close to INR 2 Cr in the scheme. The story was first reported by Millenium Post. You can read the full article here.
Chenaiites Turn To Crypto
As many see their finances affected amid the pandemic due to job losses or pay cuts, a section of the young populace in Chennai have taken to investing in cryptocurrencies as it allows them a passive income. Cryptocurrency trading platform CoinSwitch Kuber, which launched in India in June this year, says that 15% of its users come from the coastal city and that the city recorded a trading volume of INR 7 Cr in August. Mumbai-based crypto exchange WazirX founder Nischal Shetty told TOI that cryptocurrencies are becoming a popular investment tool for young people who’ve lost their jobs this year or suffered a dent in finances, as prices for cryptocurrencies have been largely good, while stock prices are dismal. You can read the full article here.