Crypto is receiving a lot of negative publicity in the country, the arrests of Unocoin co-founders, Nasscom president calling cryptocurrency illegal, later retracting the statement, telegram scammers running havoc and so on. It all boils down to a simple fact, lack of knowledge about blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
Inadequate understanding, laziness to research and believing hearsay is what leads people to believe that cryptocurrency in India is illegal. The truth is cryptocurrency is not a legal tender, and that does not make it illegal. It can still be used as an investment instrument. While Bitcoin may not be accepted as payment currency right now, it is on its way to become the future of money according to Nischal Shetty, CEO Of WazirX Cryptocurrency Exchange.
We caught up with Shetty last week to pick his brain on cryptocurrency, regulations, Unocoin ATM, Nasscom gaffe and much more. Here’s the interview:
CCI: What according to you needs to be done in India to provide a safe, conducive blockchain & crypto environment?
Shetty: “The number one thing that’s the need of the hour is for the government to remove the bank ban imposed by RBI. What the RBI is doing is hurting the Indian crypto industry and it’s sad to see such a regressive step taken in our country as compared to other nations such as US, UK, Japan, EU countries etc.”
Regulations play a key role Shetty explained further…
“The government should start the process of bringing in crypto regulations. It’s not an easy thing to do considering the lack of knowledge and understanding about crypto hence the initialisation of crypto regulations is a good first step. The US is doing exactly this and they are inviting exchanges to give their side of the story. There’s no need to rush into regulations but there’s a need to rush into starting the process of regulation”
“I would love to see a push given to bringing crypto into the curriculum of engineering studies”
“Accept that crypto is the future of money and assets and adapt to it as a country. I would love to see a push given to bringing crypto into the curriculum of engineering studies. This is apparently being done in the US in some universities. It’s best to have the future generation of India already learn blockchain by the time they graduate from college.”
CCI: Is P2P a sustainable model for an exchange?
Shetty: “P2P is definitely sustainable and people are learning and loving it. P2P in fact gives the power back to the people. It’s decentralised with a three party system. However, it’s not as convenient as depositing money directly into an exchange’s bank account. Bank accounts will give a far greater push to crypto adoption in India”
CCI: And what about Crypto ATMs?
Shetty: “It’s more gimmick than usefulness because I’m certain users will end up paying a higher premium to buy bitcoin using such ATMs. Anything that gives users a bad deal is a bad idea according to me”.
CCI: Do you think the arrests of Unocoin co founders are warranted?
Shetty: “If the arrests were made thinking crypto is illegal then that’s completely wrong and high handedness by the authorities. If the arrests were made for violating some ATM related laws then no comments from my end as I do not know the nitty-gritties of that.”
CCI: Recently reports surfaced about Nasscom President calling cryptocurrency illegal. Why do you think these bodies believe crypto is illegal?
Nasscom later released a statement clarifying the IT body only reiterated RBI’s stance.
Shetty: “Unfortunately these bodies have not done their homework. It’s as simple as that. Laziness leads to people responding based on hearsay and that’s exactly what has happened in this case. I request associations that represent industries to do more research, least talk to me or someone from the crypto industry and we’ll tell you everything there is to know. Everyone is accessible in this age of social media, just reach out and understand before spreading misinformation and causing damage to the reputation of a fast growing innovative field such as crypto!”
CCI: What do you think the community can do to create more awareness?
Shetty: “Be more vocal. That’s all we can do and we should do more of that. I keep tweeting about cryptos, busting myths, calling out fake news (like the NASSCOM one) but everyone needs to do more of that. If you’re not speaking up against the wrong that is happening to the crypto space in India then this space will take years to get recognition here. And in that time frame every other country and its people would have raced ahead of us. Indians have a chance of participating in the future, I hope our government gives us that chance before it’s too late.
Here’s what all of us should do:
1. Talk about all the technological advancements in crypto
2. Bust all the crypto myths
3. Call out fake news in crypto because there’s a lot of it going around
4. Educate as many people around you as possible about why crypto is a revolution and will one day be bigger than the Internet has ever been. This is the time to be involved!”
And with that, it was a wrap, not before sharing ideas on how we can get more people to join the crypto revolution. Maybe you guys will see the fruit of the discussion soon. Stay tuned.