WazirX CEO: Digital Rupee Will Be 'Amazing' for Crypto
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WazirX CEO: Digital Rupee Will Be 'Amazing' for Crypto

6 months ago

"Overnight we go from 20 million to 30 million people in India knowing about crypto to maybe 100, 200, 300 million people," Nischal Shetty says.

WazirX CEO: Digital Rupee Will Be 'Amazing' for Crypto

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The founder of India's biggest crypto exchange has said that the digital rupee is going to be "amazing" — and will play a crucial role in raising awareness about cryptocurrencies.

Speaking to the CoinMarketRecap podcast, Nischal Shetty predicted that the central bank digital currency "will actually grow the public crypto markets" and serve as a boost to the country's economy. Acknowledging that not everyone is a fan of CBDCs, he added:

"Overnight we go from 20 million to 30 million people in India knowing about crypto to maybe 100, 200, 300 million people."

Shetty explained that a CBDC can help accelerate the growth of the crypto industry — ensuring that a greater number of consumers would know how to operate a digital wallet and transfer tokens.

"I'm a big fan of the fact that India is attempting this — and India should, because every other nation is doing it and we are a tech nation out here. We can't be sitting on the sidelines while others build their CBDC. Kudos to the government for wanting to do this."

Perhaps rather ambitiously, the Indian government has declared that it wants to launch a digital rupee by 2023 at the latest. By comparison, the likes of China have been working on a digital yuan for years.

This would put India — a country with a population of 1.38 billion people — streets ahead of Western economies such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Both countries have been accused of dragging their heels when it comes to forming a plan for CBDCs, especially considering they take years to develop.

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Talking Taxes

Shetty came on the CoinMarketRecap podcast after it emerged that India's government plans to tax profits from crypto trades at 30%.

The WazirX founder described the new measures as a "very positive sign" for India, not least because the country has been considering a ban on digital assets for several years. He said it was unlikely that the government would unveil a tax regime for crypto if it wanted to ban it.

When asked whether the 30% tax would ultimately put some people off from getting involved, Shetty pointed out that there will be very little change for the country's highest earners — but it could be a "big problem" for those who are on lower incomes, adding:

"With the taxation, what they see is sort of a legitimacy — a confidence booster for them to enter the crypto ecosystem now, be it individuals or corporations. They're now much more confident that they can invest in crypto in India, because the government has clarified that you can pay taxes on your crypto earnings. So that's something of a big positive — a booster for the sector — because very soon we will definitely see more involvement from those sitting on the sidelines currently, due to the uncertainty that existed until now."

WazirX is now expecting a surge in demand — and when asked whether Bitcoin's volatility could hurt consumers on lower incomes, he said:

"The best thing about that is I don't think there's anyone left anymore who doesn't know about that … People may not be trading in crypto, but the one thing they know is that crypto is highly volatile and prices can fall by 10%, 15% in a day."

Looking forward, Shetty wants India to focus on educating young consumers about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology — and he expressed confidence that digital assets will soon be used by more than one billion people around the world.

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