India has huge potential to become global crypto hub but clarity key, say Indian crypto startups, investors
India has tremendous potential in becoming a global crypto hub, but India needs to develop a clear playbook for setting up and operating businesses with crypto, given the prevailing uncertainty in operating crypto projects in the country, said crypto startups and investors at the launch event of YourStory's The Metaverse Summit, India's first Web 3.0 conference.
During a panel discussion on “India’s crypto story: the way forward,” Raghu Mohan, Co-founder and CEO, Buidlers Tribe and Lumos Labs, spoke to crypto startup ecosystem stakeholders such as Aniket Jindal, Co-founder, Biconomy; Pranav Sharma, Founding Partners, Woodstock Fund; Tarusha Mittal, Co-founder and CEO, Unifarm; and Minal Thukral, Executive VP - Growth and Strategy, CoinDCX, to deep-dive into what it'll take to make India a global crypto hub and build a decentralised future powered by Web 3.0.
“Web 3.0 is inevitable. What’s more important for India to shine is to capture the associated industries or economy as a whole. Another important question is whether we can create jobs on a massive scale? Thus, it is all about creating enabling frameworks so that India captures enormous value,” says Woodstock Fund's Pranav Sharma.
From an outright ban on cryptocurrencies in 2016 to an upcoming Bill for regulation, the Indian cryptocurrency ecosystem and stakeholders have had a rollercoaster ride over the past few years.
Given its engineering potential, India stands a chance to really stamp its authority in the crypto space and contribute in a really big way as far as laying the foundation is concerned, said the panellists.
“From an emerging economy perspective, crypto offers an open framework which gives a level playing field for anybody to build applications, innovate, monetise, etc. Technology has made collaboration easy. You can build applications which can empower communities,” emphasised Pranav.
Today, there are so many more Indian entrepreneurs who are building world-class products in the space, acknowledged the panellists.
“Year 2020 was kind of an entry in the beta phase where people started using these applications. So this was a sort of paradigm shift that happened over the last few years,” noted Aniket.
However, in the initial days, as Aniket adds, crypto was more of an experiment, with no actual product in sight. The lack of policies and clarity also gave rise to some people taking advantage of these loopholes, leading to multiple scams globally.
The panelists agreed unanimously that the onus is on entrepreneurs, investors and other stakeholders active in the crypto ecosystem to create awareness about the crypto industry and highlight its advantages. There is a need to push out the right content to educate the end-user, be it an individual or a business person.
In addition, regulating the crypto space, rather than any kind of a knee-jerk reaction, should be the way forward, said the panellists, who added that the ambit of policy should be expanded beyond crypto exchanges, blockchain and DeFi to include NFTs (or non-fungible tokens) and related products.
“The sectors within crypto need to be tackled. You can't put everything in the same basket,” said Tarusha.