Lawmakers should handle cryptocurrency as if it were gold or real estate, according to an Indian IT entrepreneur.

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Nandan Nilekani, an Indian software magnate, says the government should seek investment from the $1.7 trillion crypto asset business.

Nandan Nilekani, an Indian technology magnate, has encouraged local authorities to enable residents to invest on crypto assets.

The co-founder and head of Infosys, an Indian multinational information technology corporation, has encouraged authorities to embrace digital assets and master the technology.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Nilekani warned that prohibitive regulations could result in significant missed opportunites for India, asserting that a more permissive approach would let the country to tap into the $1.7 trillion digital asset market and allow “crypto guys to put their wealth into India’s economy.

However, Nilekani remains sceptical of an unrestricted crypto market in India, claiming that cryptocurrencies are too unpredictable and energy-intensive to be used as a form of payment. He argues that the Reserve Bank of India’s Unified Payments Interface architecture is preferable for real-time payments.

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Instead, the internet tycoon advocated for Indians to be able to use crypto assets for speculation and as a store of value, stating:

“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.”

Nandan Nilekani has long collaborated with Indian government to assist develop digital technology regulations, notably the Aadhaar biometric identity scheme, which was introduced in 2009. He joined a group in December 2016 to look at how individuals in India may utilise digital payments more effectively, and he led a central bank committee on digital payments in 2019.

With India’s massive digital industry and unbanked population, the country might be a worldwide hotspot for crypto asset adoption, but the regulatory environment remains murky, with lawmakers and the central bank sending contradictory signals.

As reported on May 19 that the formation of a new regulatory body dedicated to digital assets might pave the way for greater clarity.

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The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2021 was supposed to be debated in parliament in March, however it was postponed for unknown reasons.

The RBI had barred all banks from enabling consumers to trade in crypto assets in 2018, but this was overturned by the Supreme Court in February 2020, reviving optimism.

Despite the huge momentum on crypto exchanges and steady retail demand in recent months, most of the sector remains in the dark.


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