The slogan of cryptocurrency fans that Bitcoin is akin to digital gold is finding believers among the world’s largest gold holdings.
Crypto investments in India rose from around $200 million to almost $40 billion in the previous year according to the chain analysis, with Indian families holding over 25,000 tonnes of gold. This is true, despite the central bank’s explicit hostility toward the asset class and the possibility of a trading ban.
32-year-old entrepreneur Richie Sood is one of the cryptocurrency converts. She invested slightly over 1 million rupees ($13,400) in Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Ether in December and loaned some of it from her father.
And she’s had good luck with her timing. She sold a portion of her Bitcoin investment in February when the price hit $50,000 then re-invested following the current drop, allowing her to support the international development of her education business Study Mate India.
“I’d rather put my money in crypto than gold,” Sood said. “Crypto is more transparent than gold or property and returns are more in a short period of time.”
She’s one of a rising number of Indians who purchases and trade digital currencies, which now number more than 15 million. As compared to 2.3 million in the United Kingdom its 23 million traders of these assets in the United States still need a catching up.
“They find it far easier to invest in crypto than gold because the process is very simple,” said Sandeep Goenka, who co-founded ZebPay and spent years representing the industry in discussions with the government on regulation. “You go online, you can buy crypto, you don’t have to verify it, unlike gold.”
One of the most important roadblocks to widespread adoption is regulatory uncertainty. The Supreme Court last year invalidated a 2018 law barring financial institutions from trading cryptocurrencies, resulting in a surge in trading. On the other hand, there is no shown proof that authorities accepted Bitcoin. The country’s central bank has voiced “severe concerns” about the asset class, and the Indian government suggested a ban on digital currency transactions six months ago but has been mute since. However, many bigger individual investors are unwilling to reveal their assets openly due to official hostility.
Still, there were signs of growth, notably in trading: daily transactions on the four major crypto exchanges climbed to $102 million from $10.6 million a year ago, according to CoinGecko. According to Chain analysis, the country’s $40 billion markets are a far cry from China’s $161 billion markets.