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India Slowly Opens Up to Crypto Payments

Cryptocurrencies can now be used to pay for tattoos, recharging Fastags and many other things. Indian businesses are opening up to the idea of taking digital currencies.

The Government has been toiling for several years to provide banking services in every nook and corner of the country through the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. This financial inclusion drive has created a huge and burgeoning market for startups.

Today India also boasts of a seamless payments system called the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). It proved to be instrumental in kickstarting a fintech revolution.

For the past year, the country has been battling the Coronavirus pandemic that has pushed the masses towards financial markets, to earn passive income. The cryptocurrency market is one of those. 

In India crypto assets are mostly seen as an ‘asset’ market. But now the outlook towards them is taking a different shape. Since they are a store of value that can be exchanged, Indians are beginning to use them for payments.

Different Businesses Embracing Crypto Payments

For instance, the users of crypto exchange Unocoin can recharge their Fastags through the exchange itself by paying in Bitcoin.

“Since going live with Bitcoin top-ups for Fastag, it has seen transactions to the tune of Rs 8-Rs 10 lakh in the last 2-3 weeks, 50% of which were made by those aged over 35″, Sathvik Vishwanath, co-founder of Unocoin, told the Economic Times (ET).

The Rug Republic, a company that sells home décor products, has also begun accepting crypto payments. Its director Raghav Gupta believes that acceptance from the business community will signal to the Government that India wishes to embrace crypto.

NCR based tattoo studio Devilz Tattooz also began taking crypto as payments. Their journey began during a bearish cycle of the market, as revealed by its founder Lokesh Verma in an interview with NDTV.

“It is like another mode of payment. It was cash first, then debit and credit card, UPI (Unified Payments Interface) and now crypto is another way,” Verma was quoted by ET. “I know cryptocurrencies are highly volatile, but if I am not a risktaker, I would just be doing a job after my MBA. Without risk, there are no rewards.” 

Vaibhav Gupta, the founder of marketing agency Desi Crypto, started accepting USDT, Bitcoin and Ethereum last year. 

Gupta said the company accepts crypto based on its future potential. “We have always built cash reserves and now I started doing the same in crypto,” he said. “Some of our employees and vendors too prefer to be paid in crypto.” 

Cryptocurrencies are in a grey area in regards to their legal status. The Supreme Court of India, last year, struck down the RBI imposed ban on digital assets. So, digital assets are ‘not illegal’.

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