2019, A ‘Not So Good Year’ For Crypto & Blockchain Industry
The crypto and blockchain industry has had a not-so-great 2019 in India and abroad due to a lack of desirable regulations and unfriendly central banks. Yet, things may vary in the upcoming years, say experts.
The year started with shutdowns of cryptocurrency exchanges and layoffs. Although with global giants, including Facebook, invading the space and various countries acknowledging the virtual currency and the blockchain technology behind it, and the industry itself staring at self-regulations, experts advise Indian crypto startups stand to succeed.
“Governments across the world are now exploring blockchain and cryptocurrencies, including stable coins, as well as self-regulated and global regulatory standards, which indicate more widespread public adoption,” said Changpeng Zhao, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, which recently acquired ‘WazirX’ to invade the Indian market.
“I believe in 2020; we will see different experiments tried by many different governments around the globe for adoption. Some will work, some may not, but overall, they will have a tremendously positive effect for crypto adoption,” he added.
Last week, the RBI restated its opposition to private digital currencies. A panel headed by former finance secretary ‘Subash Chandra Garg’ had earlier this year prescribed making cryptocurrency trading in India illegal. Nonetheless, the RBI has begun consultations with other central banks on India’s digital currency.
China is reportedly determined to launch its digital currency by 2021. Countries like Singapore, France, and Malaysia are also testing the same virtual currencies.
‘Tanvi Ratna,’ the founder of policy and regulatory advisory firm Policy 4.0, said the launch of the Chinese sovereign coin would impact Indian regulatory strategies.
“Too much has shifted in the global regulatory front, and that will already start impacting Indian startups, regardless of the Indian government’s decision. The blockchain world in 2020 is going to seem a lot different from the last year or two,” Ratna said.
Nevertheless, startups working in the space in India are looking at moving their offices to countries that offer beneficial policies, said neo bank Juno’s cofounder ‘Varun Deshpande.’ But notwithstanding the regulatory challenges, the startups are innovating in the space.
The interest in crypto trading and engineering innovations in the space has only grown in India, said “Ramani Ramachandran,” the CEO ZPX, a Singapore-based crypto firm. “There are announcements of these kinds, but on the ground level, there are a host of companies coming up.”
While the government and RBI had shown concern against the generation of private digital currencies, their interest on the subject has been moderate, said Sathvik Vishwanathan, the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Unocoin.
Vishwanathan said, except there were big moves by authorities across the globe forbidding or providing cryptocurrency trade, the issue was unlikely to be a part of the Indian government’s agenda.
The industry is meanwhile idling for the Supreme Court’s decision in a case questioning the RBI’s ban on the use of banking channels, and the ruling is presumed to circumscribe the direction of the cryptocurrency ecosystem in India.