En Crypto: Has India Missed the Cryptocurrency Bus While Catching Up with it?
While India cautiously opens its doors to cryptocurrencies, several markets are speeding ahead in the sector. Does this mean India will lag behind or are we avoiding financial crises?
Cryptocurrencies are coming into limelight in India after the Supreme Court lifted the ban last March. Even though the sector lacks a regulatory environment, so that uncertainty still marks the ecosystem, there are many players who want to go ahead with crypto. Many consumers too are diving in. Also, market players are rushing in to leverage this opportunity.
What does this mean for India in the near and far future? How does she fare in comparison to markets like the US and the Middle East, where trading is way higher on a daily basis?
The Tech Panda spoke to several crypto organizations to find out India´s position in the global crypto space.
Like many other crypto organizations, Vauld, a lending and borrowing crypto platform in India, has welcomed this move.
Crypto by nature is a global opportunity, we very much embrace that. We saw the opening of the Indian market as a positive outcome
“Crypto by nature is a global opportunity, we very much embrace that. We saw the opening of the Indian market as a positive outcome. We didn´t initially anticipate that was going to happen,” says Darshan Bathija, CEO and Co-Founder of Vauld.
“There isn’t a government level adoption of cryptocurrency in general in India. However, I know they have changed the rules recently to make it more acceptable and more interesting for different industries,” says, Luke Stokes, the MD of The Foundation for Interwallet Operability (FIO).
India vs. Global
Bathija informs that the daily volume of crypto transactions in India goes up to about US$7.5 million a day. Quantifying the opportunity across other countries gives us the perspective of where India stands. For example, South Korea transacts about US$1 billion a day, US$400 million a day in Europe and Turkey, and US$1.5 billion a day in the US.
“India happens to be growing today because of the lift of the currency ban. But we look at India as just one of the markets that the global crypto community represents,” he says.
This indicates that the global market is at least 50-60 times bigger than the Indian opportunity.
Does this mean that India will India miss out on this opportunity?
There’s a huge upside for the Indian market for sure, but it has nothing to do with the relative penetration. This makes the crypto opportunity in India exciting in spite of the fact that the national volumes are relatively low.
India can look at the crypto opportunity as a means to solving financial problems rather than a competition. Bathija believes that technology is meant to solve problems and that´s how crypto too should be viewed.
“Each of these markets are acquiring users and solving problems for them. The way we look at adoption of technology in general is, ´Is it meaningfully solving a problem for the person such that the word of mouth in itself is so strong that growth will happen, so that it’s not really relative to the country?”, he says.
Crypto Companies are Eyeing India
With digital currencies warming up in India, several crypto organizations are eyeing the Indian market. For example, The Foundation for Interwallet Operability (FIO) Protocol is one of them. FIO is an open source protocol that offers human readable addresses to make life easy for crypto traders.
Luke Stokes, the MD of FIO, says that India is going to be an important market for FIO protocol.
There’s this understanding that people will eventually want to move outside of just the walled garden, which controls how they transact and use their own store of value. And people are going to be interested in more self-sovereign control of their value
“For those in India learning about FIO, it is recognizing that the FIO protocol provides a decentralized way to accomplish that same level of ease of use and usability that they’re familiar with in the traditional financial system,” he says.
He adds that the world is moving towards open finance in the future as governments and banks are looking to get involved in it.
“There’s this understanding that people will eventually want to move outside of just the walled garden, which controls how they transact and use their own store of value. And people are going to be interested in more self-sovereign control of their value. So, I am really interested in the community in India, exploring FIO and recognizing it as an opportunity to go beyond a controlled system of their current finances,” he adds.
As a first step, FIO is working with different companies to integrate into their wallets and into their exchanges.
“That is our first step, so that people can interact with a product or service that’s native to their country and their language and the culture that they’re familiar with, and that also has the FIO protocol built in,” he says.
Another crypto company that has recently expanded operations in India is Paxful, a P2P crypto organization committed to expanding financial inclusion in the world through crypto trading. Ray Youssef, CEO at Paxful, sees a great opportunity for India.
As the industry grows, it will bring about new jobs the same way the first wave of the Internet did, and it will ultimately provide a safe haven for volatile currencies of countries in turmoil
“India has been growing tremendously and is now one of the country’s leading the crypto revolution. As one of the most populated counties in the world, it is primed for the opportunities that will come with it. It will open up avenues for new investments that will result in the people of India being granted self-capital,” he says.
“As the industry grows, it will bring about new jobs the same way the first wave of the Internet did, and it will ultimately provide a safe haven for volatile currencies of countries in turmoil,” he adds.
India Remains Cautious
It´s a known fact that anyone who touches the Indian market usually gains a massive business soon. However, India is trying to be as cautious as possible when it comes to crypto. It remains to be seen how it all pans out in the future.
This could be the future of a more equitable financial system that’s not controlled by any one particular central government or central bank, but something that we all can participate in voluntarily
As Stokes says,
“This could be the future of a more equitable financial system that’s not controlled by any one particular central government or central bank, but something that we all can participate in voluntarily.”
Yet, we know that many things can go wrong with crypto, as they have in the past. Until there is surer footing, India will probably remain cautious.