ET reported on Monday that the Union Cabinet could later this week
discuss a legal framework for cryptocurrencies and is likely to propose a complete ban on private digital currencies as legal tender. However, strict rules could be put in place to allow them to be held as assets.
Nithin Kamath, founder of online brokerage platform Zerodha, told ET while it was too early to comment on the direction Zerodha will take in case crypto is regulated, the company could get into it if Sebi put out explicit regulations.
“We need to see how regulations play out. It is still too early to comment. If Sebi did become a regulator I think the way existing exchanges work would change,” Kamath said.
Pravin Jadhav, founder of Raise, which operates investment platform Dhan for super traders and long-term investors, said that his company is also awaiting regulatory clarity. “If regulations clear crypto as an asset, then we will build,” Jadhav said. “The intention is to look at them as an investment product, which fits in the direction we are already taking with Dhan.”
Nischal Shetty, cofounder of crypto exchange WazirX, said more competition could expand the crypto ecosystem rapidly. “In the US we already have traditional players such as Robinhood, Square and Paypal offering crypto to their customers. Crypto will also help these traditional players retain their existing customers,” he said.
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In November, Madhur Deora, group chief financial officer of Paytm, told Bloomberg TV in an interview that if Bitcoin ever became fully legal in India, the company would consider offering it to customers.
On the other hand, crypto selling platform CoinSwitch Kuber, which recently raised funds from Andreessen Horowitz, is charting a course to become “next biggest fintech player in India” and diversify its product portfolio to include other financial products, besides cryptocurrencies, cofounder and chief executive Ashish Singhal told ET in an interview in October.
CoinSwitch Kuber has roped in Krishna Hegde as senior vice president of new initiatives. As a senior executive at Paytm from 2016 to 2018, Hegde helped set up the company’s lending, wealth management and insurance businesses.
Presently, crypto falls under a legal grey area in India. Despite lack of regulatory clarity, the industry has expanded rapidly this year and about 12-15 million retail traders have registered across crypto platforms.
But Indian fintech companies and online brokerages have steered clear of the industry. For almost eight months, most large Indian banks had also refused to work with crypto exchanges. However, things may be shifting. ET also reported on Monday that crypto exchange WazirX has opened an account with Kotak Mahindra Bank that can be used to receive and pay money to investors trading on the exchange.