Over 100 million Indians have crypto, highest in the world: Report

15 October 2021, New Delhi: According to BrokerChooser, a broker search and comparison platform, India has the largest number of cryptocurrency owners at 100.7 million in the world, followed by the US and Russia. With reportedly 7.3% of India’s population owning cryptocurrency, crypto trading exchange Coinswitch Kuber has over 10 million crypto users on its platform.

As a percentage of the population, India has the fifth highest rate of crypto owners at 7.3%. Ukraine topped the index with 12.73% of the population, followed by Russia at 11.91%, Kenya at 8.52% and the US at 8.31%.

The study also evaluated Internet searches in different countries to assess interest in cryptocurrencies.

In the last twelve months, India had the second highest number of total crypto searches (around 3.6 million), while the US saw the highest number of crypto searches at 6.9 million.

In fact, India ranked second among 154 countries in the 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index by Chainalysis in August this year.

India’s market has grown by 641% over the past year, the report showed, using a metric that estimates the total cryptocurrency received by a country.

“Large institutional-sized transfers worth more than $10 million represent 42 percent of transactions sent from India-based addresses,” the report said, adding that the numbers show that cryptocurrency investors in India are large, Are part of more sophisticated outfits.

Worth noting: Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, has already gained over 50% since the beginning of this year. The one year profit is around 400%, which is encouraging more and more Indians to opt for crypto exchanges.

A survey conducted by consulting firm Kantar shows that 19% of urban Indians intend to invest in virtual tokens in the next six months. And when it comes to crypto ownership, Bitcoin reigns with a preference of 75 percent, followed by Ethereum at 40 percent, Binance Coin at 23 percent and XRP at 18 percent.

A major attraction is the chance to earn high returns by investing small amounts. WazirX allows investment of as low as Rs 100-500 in bitcoin.

The Indians who have cryptocurrencies are mostly in the age group of 21 to 35 years and live in metro cities. The survey said owners have “high risk appetite” as they are preferring crypto, mutual funds over fixed deposits and life insurance.

So the jump in popularity of crypto exchanges and platforms like CoinSwitch Kuber (CSK), WazirX, CoinDCX, ZebPay, Unocoin and BuyUcoin etc. in recent months is not surprising.

Crypto exchange Zerodha’s Coinswitch Kuber has over seven million users against 11 million. WazirX has 8.3 million.
Unocoin has also introduced deposits through the UPI wallet in Indian currency to buy and sell bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on the platform, despite the uncertainty among potential users about the use of the cryptocurrency as compared to real money.

Last week, CoinSwitch Kuber raised more than $260 million in a Series C funding round from a group of investors, raising the company’s valuation to $1.9 billion.

A survey conducted by consulting firm Kantar shows that 19% of urban Indians intend to invest in virtual tokens in the next six months. And when it comes to crypto ownership, Bitcoin reigns with a preference of 75 percent, followed by Ethereum at 40 percent, Binance Coin at 23 percent and XRP at 18 percent.

Data from Tracxn shows that Indian start-ups in the crypto space have received 73% more funding in the first six months of calendar 2021 compared to the whole of 2020. Another NASSCOM report titled ‘Crypto Industry in India’ states that more than 60% of states in India are emerging as crypto tech adopters, with the industry set to reach $241 million in India by 2030 .

But cryptocurrencies are not yet accepted as legal tender and the country lacks a legal framework and regulatory norms.
The ball is currently in the court of Finance Ministry and Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

A cryptocurrency bill is expected in the winter session. The finance ministry has reportedly set up a new committee to find out whether income from crypto-trading can be taxed.

Meanwhile, the RBI is also looking to launch its first official digital currency as a regulated “central bank digital currency (CBDC)” by the end of 2021. Much of the doubt stems from the fact that the worldwide boom in cryptocurrency has created the ground for fake trading platforms.

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