Indian tech leader Nandan Nilekani has joined the chorus of people encouraging greater crypto adoption in the country. Meanwhile, issues concerning cryptocurrency regulations remain unclear in India with several conflicting communique from state authorities.
There is a Role for Crypto
According to a report by Nilekani, chairman of information technology consulting firm Infosys has advised Indian authorities to adopt a more nuanced view of cryptocurrencies. For Nilekani, despite the price volatility of crypto tokens, virtual currencies can be seen as an asset class.
Commenting on his views, the Infosys chair argued:
“Just like you have some of your assets in gold or real estate, you can have some of your assets in crypto. I think there’s a role for crypto as a stored value but certainly not in a transactional sense.”
Nilekani also stated that advancing the course of cryptocurrency in India would be beneficial for the country’s economy at large given the size of the industry. As of the time of writing, the total crypto market capitalization stands at over $1.7 trillion leading Nilekani to clamor for the government to allow Indian crypto entrepreneurs to “put their wealth into India’s economy.”
While acknowledging the value proposition of cryptocurrencies as an alternative asset class, Nilekani dismissed the potential utility for virtual currencies as a means of payment. According to the tech magnate, the country’s existing digital payment infrastructure is superior to crypto given the latter’s price volatility and energy consumption.
Several market stakeholders have made the case for Bitcoin (BTC) as a store of value and an alternative to longstanding hedge assets like gold. Indeed, this association has taken even more renewed significance on the back of massive money printing by central banks to fund economic recovery efforts amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
To Ban or Not to Ban
Meanwhile, India’s government is yet to release a definitive crypto regulatory policy amid conflicting reports from the country. Earlier in June, Shaktikanta Das, governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) remarked that the central bank’s anti-crypto concerns remained unchanged.
Das’s comments came on the heels of the RBI distancing itself from reports alleging that the central bank had instructed commercial banks not to service crypto exchanges. Indeed, India’s Supreme Court overturned a previous RBI order to that effect back in March 2020.
As previously reported, authorities in India might be pivoting from a total ban to a more nuanced set of crypto regulations.