The recent news cycle around a new bill on cryptocurrencies, expected to be introduced in the parliament, has created a lot of confusion. Initially, it led to an awful lot of panic selling among cryptocurrency investors in India, as concerns around a possible ban skyrocketed.
What is the future of crypto in India? Will India really ban cryptocurrencies? What is the nature of the bill the government is planning to introduce? Should I continue investing in cryptocurrencies? These are just some of the questions on everyone's mind right now as millions of Indians continue to trade and invest in cryptocurrencies.
To answer some of the biggest questions on everyone's mind, and to bust some common myths, CoinSwitch Kuber recently held an AMA session with the company's CEO Ashish Singhal. CoinSwitch is currently one of India's largest cryptocurrency exchanges.
Ashish is the co-founder and CEO of CoinSwitch, and has previously worked at companies such as CRUXPay, Reap Benefit, Urban Tailor, Amazon, Microsoft, and others. He holds a degree from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology. His vision to open a powerful yet user-friendly cryptocurrency exchange trading platform resulted in the launch of CoinSwitch.
Here are some of the questions that were discussed during CoinSwitch's AMA:
What does the proposed bill mean for crypto in India?
Ashish: Let's understand the history of the proposed crypto bill. We mainly know about the title of the bill, which is the same as the bill that was supposed to be introduced last year. However, the bill wasn't tabled in the parliament and things were quite different back then.
Moving to where things stand today, the crypto community in India has grown drastically over this period. Millions of people are now part of CoinSwitch, and other applications. Crypto is now being seen as an asset class, and shouldn't be treated purely like a currency. This could be tomorrow's Google, Amazon, etc.
The government's mindset is also gradually changing as it tries to understand the concepts behind crypto. We don't know what exactly the proposed bill contains. We're hoping there will be a progressive revolution as the government proposes a bill to regulate cryptocurrencies.
Would you say the future is bright?
Ashish: First things first, my opinion is biased since we run a crypto company. We believe crypto can change the finance industry and the financial infrastructure in the company. As of now, we don't know much about the proposed cryptocurrency bill. The government does understand that the crypto industry can be huge. They're mainly concerned about things like misleading ads that may harm investors. We need to tell the government about the pros and cons of crypto, and help them prevent misuse while still keeping the industry open.
We hope that the proposed bill will be positive for the industry and crypto investors. Recognising crypto alone is a major achievement for all of us. Having a bill on crypto regulation is difficult for the government too since this is a very new technology. Every day there's a brand new concept that emerges. Building a regulation means having a bill that'll work not only today, but five years down the line too. The bill may classify crypto, and may ultimately regulate crypto in a phased manner to help protect users and boost innovation.
What if there's a ban on crypto?
Ashish: An outright ban on crypto is quite hard from a technology point of view since everything is peer-to-peer. Banning exchanges or crypto is not the solution but creating frameworks for operation could be an ideal solution. Even if it were to happen, the government will need to consider that there's over $6 billion worth of value invested in crypto by retail investors.
What is the difference between public and private cryptocurrency?
Ashish: Public and private cryptocurrencies are the government's interpretation of crypto for which we don't have a clear definition yet. The following interpretation is purely our own. Public blockchains are where any user can be a participant in the ecosystem and create a change in the infrastructure. Private blockchains could be a blockchain set up between a few entities. The government's understanding could be based on the issuance of a blockchain, similar to how public and private companies are recognised.
Should one buy, hold, or sell crypto right now?
Ashish: Now that's a very tough question to answer. There's a lot of uncertainty in the market right now. We haven't even seen the proposed crypto bill yet. What we do know from our experience is that people in the government are looking at crypto positively now. There are some concerns too though. All I want to say is, make your own decision but your decision shouldn't be based on what happened yesterday. Hopefully, we'll have more details so investors can take a more informed decision. Let's wait for the hard facts to arrive, and then you can take your call.