NEW DELHI: Indians are outpacing the rest of the world when it comes to cryptocurrency adoption even as investors are still awaiting the official verdict on cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.
A study conducted by the portal BrokerChoose’s annual crypto proliferation index reveals that at over 10 crore, India has the largest number of crypto owners in the world followed by the US and Russia.
As a percentage of the population, India has the fifth-highest rate of crypto owners at 7.3%. This index is topped by Ukraine at 12.73% of the population, followed by Russia at 11.91%, Kenya at 8.52% and the US at 8.31%.
The study also evaluated internet searches in various countries to assess the interest in cryptocurrencies.
In the past twelve months, India had the second-highest number (nearly 36 lakh) of total crypto searches, while the US saw the highest number of crypto searches at 69 lakh.
In fact, India ranked second out of 154 countries on the 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index by Chainalysis in August this year.
India’s market grew 641% over the past year, the report showed, using a metric that estimates the total cryptocurrency received by a country.
“Large institutional-sized transfers above $10 million worth of cryptocurrency represent 42 per cent of transactions sent from India-based addresses,” said the report, adding that the numbers suggest that India’s cryptocurrency investors are part of larger, more sophisticated organisations.
Point to note: The world’s biggest cryptocurrency, bitcoin, has already gained more than 50% since the start of the year. The one-year gain stands at around 400%, which is promoting more and more Indians to opt for crypto exchanges.
A survey conducted by consulting firm Kantar shows that 19% of urban Indians intend to invest in virtual tokens in the next six months. And when it comes to crypto ownership, Bitcoin rules the roost with a preference of 75 per cent, followed by Ethereum at 40 percent, Binance coin at 23 per cent, and XRP at 18 per cent.
One major attraction is the chance to earn high profits by investing in small amounts. WazirX allows investments into bitcoin with as little as Rs100-500.
Indians who own cryptocurrency are mostly in the age bracket of 21 to 35 and live in metro cities. The owners have a “higher risk appetite”, the survey said, as they are preferring crypto, mutual fund over the fixed deposits and life insurance.
So a spurt in the popularity of crypto exchanges and platforms in recent months like CoinSwitch Kuber (CSK), WazirX, CoinDCX, ZebPay, Unocoin and BuyUcoin etc is not surprising.
Crypto exchange Zerodha has over seven million users against 11 million at CoinSwitch Kuber. There are 8.3 million at WazirX.
Unocoin has even launched deposits via UPI wallets in the Indian currency for a faster top-up to buy and sell Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies on the platform despite the uncertainty among the prospective users regarding the usage of cryptocurrency in comparison to real money.
Last week, CoinSwitch Kuber raised over $260 million in Series C funding round from a clutch of investors, valuing the company at $1.9 billion.
A survey conducted by consulting firm Kantar shows that 19% of urban Indians intend to invest in virtual tokens in the next six months. And when it comes to crypto ownership, Bitcoin rules the roost with a preference of 75 per cent, followed by Ethereum at 40 per cent, Binance coin at 23 per cent, and XRP at 18 per cent.
Indian start-ups in the crypto space have received 73% more funding in the first six months of calendar 2021 compared to the whole of 2020, shows data from Tracxn. Another NASSCOM report titled ‘Crypto Industry in India’, said that more than 60% of states in India are emerging as crypto tech adopters, with the industry set to reach 241 million dollars by 2030 in India.
But cryptocurrencies are yet to be accepted as legal tender and lack legal framework and regulatory norms in the country.
The ball is currently in the court of the finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
A cryptocurrency bill is expected in the winter session. The finance ministry has also reportedly formed a new committee to find out if income made by crypto-trading could be taxed.
Meanwhile, RBI is also looking to launch its first official digital currency as a regulated “central bank digital currency (CBDC)” by the end of 2021. Much of the scepticism stems from the fact that a worldwide boom in cryptocurrency has bred the ground for fake trading platforms.
But with larger investors warming to crypto and other digital assets, the total amount of funding for global blockchain companies hit a record $6.586 billion in the September quarter, almost double of that raised in 2020, according to market intelligence platform Blockdata.
On Monday, cryptocurrency analytics firm Elliptic raised $60 million from investors including SoftBank and Wells Fargo Strategic Capital.
The company tracks the movement of cryptocurrencies on blockchain to help financial crime compliance.
Earlier in May, a Brazilian money management firm focused on cryptocurrencies raised about $26 million from investors including SoftBank Group Corp and in July the SoftBank Latin America fund invested $200 million in the Series B funding of 2TM Group, the digital asset group that owns cryptocurrency exchange Mercado Bitcoin.