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.
The Mumbai-based cryptocurrency exchange platform WazirX has introduced a new feature for crypto traders on its platform. Users on WazirX will now be able to avail the ‘staking’ facility, which is similar to earning interest on one’s bank deposits. The newly launched feature enables WazirX customers to earn annualized returns of 2% to 16% per annum on their investments.
Currently, the platform is live with TRON (TRX) and Tezos (XTZ) and enables users having at least 500 TRX and 3 XTZ respectively to stake their tokens. WazirX, which was acquired by the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance last year, will gradually expand its staking feature to other cryptocurrencies as well, including Harmony (ONE), Swipe (SXP), and Cosmos (ATOM), among others.
The staking feature is simple, for the users need not lock their tokens, as they will get staking rewards when their funds are sitting idle in the WazirX exchange. Traditionally, staking required transfer of funds, a second wallet, and a procedure where you risk losing your tokens too.
“We’re focused on making crypto accessible to everyone in India. There are many crypto enthusiasts who are not comfortable with staking. I believe our staking feature is a great way to enable holders and new investors to participate in the crypto revolution, and earn yields on their holdings. Staking on WazirX is very free and easy to use. It will help us onboard millions of users in the coming months,” said WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty.
The launch of the staking feature comes even as WazirX is pioneering the Decentralised Finance (DeFi) revolution in India as it develops an Automated Market Maker (AMM) protocol, in partnership with the Matic network. WazirX plans to launch a testnet version of the AMM protocol by the end of this month.
Beyond decentralised virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, blockchain technologies today also power Decentralised Finance (DeFi), a term used to describe financial services with no central authority. To put it simply, DeFi offers its users all the financial services offered by a traditional financial system that is centralised but without banks or exchanges acting as intermediaries or overseers of all transactions.
Last week, WazirX CEO Shetty talked to Inc42 about all that DeFi promises, its potential risks and benefits, while also talking about his company’s under-development Decentralised Exchange (DEX).
At the time of writing, Bitcoin was trading at $10,491, down by 3.56% from last week’s price of $10,879. Its market cap was $194 Bn.
By the time of writing, Ethereum was trading at $342 Bn, down by 7.56% from last week’s price of $370 Bn. Its market cap was $38 Bn.
Fresh Reports Of Indian Crypto Ban Not True
“It will be madness if they do,” said Subramaniam Swamy, a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a Member of Parliament (MP), when asked if the government was planning to bring in a law to ban cryptocurrencies. Swamy also told The Block that he hadn’t heard of the bill. The last week or so saw Indian cryptocurrency stakeholders tense up, as a Bloomberg report, citing sources, said that the Indian government was planning to ban cryptocurrencies. The fact that there is already a draft bill which proposes a virtual ban on cryptocurrencies meant that it wasn’t hard to imagine that the speculations could be true. However, Inc42 spoke to several crypto stakeholders, who were cautiously optimistic when they said that the government wouldn’t move in haste with the decision.
Law firm Writes to Government Against Crypto Ban
Moved by the speculations about an impending ban on cryptocurrencies, a law firm, Nishith Desai Associates, has written to The Cabinet Secretary stating the need for regulatory approaches to crypto-assets and further building an ecosystem of blockchain in the country. The law firm has talked about how blockchain technologies can aid the Digital India mission. “A complete ban will be against the interests of innovation, liberty, and trade,” the letter states. The law firm has also written an independent policy paper titled, “Building a Successful Blockchain Ecosystem for India: Regulatory Approaches to Crypto-Assets”, with the Indian government. You can read the full story here.