The cryptocurrency aficionados’ mantra that Bitcoin is the equivalent of digital gold is winning converts among the world’s biggest holders of precious metals. In India, where households own more than 25,000 tons of gold, cryptocurrency investments have grown from about $200 million to nearly $40 billion in the last year, according to Chainalysis. That’s despite outright hostility to the asset class from the central bank and the proposed trading ban as per Cryptocurrency news India.
Richie Sood, a 32-year-old entrepreneur, is one of those who went from gold to cryptocurrencies. Since December, she has invested just over 1 million rupees ($ 13,400), some of which he borrowed from his father, into Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Ether.
And she’s been fortunate with her timing. She cashed out the part when Bitcoin smashed $ 50,000 in February and bought back in after the recent tumble, allowing him to fund the overseas expansion of her education startup Study Mate India.
"I'd rather put my money in cryptocurrency than gold," Sood said. "Cryptocurrencies are more transparent than gold or property and the returns are more in a short period of time."
She is part of a growing number of Indians, now numbering over 15 million, buying and selling digital coins. This reaches 23 million traders of this asset in the US and compares with just 2.3 million in the UK.
The growth in India is coming from a group of 18- to 35-year-old, says the co-founder of India's first cryptocurrency exchange. The latest data from the World Gold Council indicated that Indian adults under the age of 34 have a lower appetite for gold than older consumers.
“They found it much easier to buy cryptocurrency in India than in gold because the process is so simple,” said Sandeep Goenka, who co-founded ZebPay and spent years representing the industry in discussions with the government about regulation. "When you go online, you can buy cryptocurrencies and you don't have to check it, unlike gold."
One of the biggest barriers to widespread adoption is regulatory uncertainty. Last year, the Supreme Court struck down a 2018 rule banning cryptocurrency trading by banks, sparking a boom in trading.
However, the authorities show no signs of embracing cryptocurrencies. The country's central bank says it has "major concerns" about the asset class and six months ago the Indian government proposed a ban on cryptocurrency trading, although it has been silent on the matter since.
"I'm flying blind," Sood said. "I am willing to take risks, so I am willing to risk a ban."
However, official hostility means that many individual investors are reluctant to speak openly about their properties. One of the bankers Bloomberg spoke to, who has invested more than $ 1 million in crypto assets, said that without clear income tax rules at this time, she was concerned about the possibility of retroactive tax raids if it became publicly known that he was an important investor in cryptocurrency.
She already has contingency plans to move his operations to an offshore bank account in Singapore if a ban is imposed.
As per crypto news India the value of Indian digital assets certainly remains a small part of its gold market. However, the growth is still visible, especially in trading: The four largest crypto exchanges saw their daily trade jump to $ 102 million from $ 10.6 million a year ago, according to CoinGecko. According to Chainalysis, the country's $ 40 billion markets significantly trail China’s $161 billion.
For the moment, increased adoption is another sign of the willingness of Indians to take risks within a consumer finance sector that suffers from examples of regulatory deficiencies.
"I think over time it will be accepted by everyone in every country," said Kenneth Alvares, 22, an independent digital marketer who has invested more than $ 1,300 in cryptocurrencies so far. "At the moment, this is all scary with regulation, but I'm not worried about it because I don't plan to remove anything for now."
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