The Indian government is putting mixed signals about how it intends to regulate cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin.
Government officials say they are still figuring out how to regulate cryptocurrency. At worst, some reports suggest that India could criminalize Bitcoin ownership and use of the currency completely. Similarly, the Indian Bitcoin community offers a big difference to stereotypes about Bitcoin like criminal retention and tech bros.
Prior to the pandemic, American Bitcoin circles were notorious for the same anti-party culture that once dominated Wall Street and Silicon Valley. There is even a stereotype that the crypto rich will drive Lamborghinis, but anyone looking to India for Bitcoin playboys with lambos will be disappointed. Arpit Agarwal of Blume Ventures, a Unocoin crypto-exchange investor will continue to drive Maruti Suzuki Swift. In addition, he has been married for nine years.
Perhaps one of the reasons why India’s crypto millionaire is not losing their wealth is also that many of them are making long-term bets, rather than profiting for short-term profits, as which this technology will increase India’s visibility in global markets.
CRYPTO-SAVVY there is a series from Inverse that explains the world of cryptocurrency and where it is going.
“Every time Bitcoin jumps in price, I see it as proof of my dissertation. Even when it goes down, I know a lot of people are still working and institutions are still accepting them, so I see no reason to leave, ”Agarwal explains Inverse.
He also draws attention to other issues by exchanging fiat currencies, such as rupees and dollars, that he hopes cryptocurrency can eventually solve.
“Especially in terms of cross-border money supply, there are hundreds of unresolved use issues because the countries do not want to trust each other and there is no neutral authority to build trust,” Agarwal says. “This problem can be completely replicated by using cryptocurrency. ”
Inside the rise of India’s Bitcoin
According to data from peer-to-peer exchange platforms LocalBitcoins and Paxful, India is now the second fastest growing Bitcoin market in Asia, garnering over $ 53 million in quarterly trading volume. Agarwal is a bit of an anomaly in India, as he sees Bitcoin as an asset class for a long-term hold. Instead of using mostly exchange platforms, as cryptocurrency users do in North America, he says, many Indian retail users seem to be Bitcoin buying from each other.
Agarwal has not escaped his Bitcoin position for a decade, so his lifestyle has not changed even as his cryptocurrency holdings were highly valued. Instead, Agarwal says he is grateful to his wife for suggesting that they take Bitcoin seriously as a saving tool.
“Yes never we would have had those opportunities if we had done it traditional way. ”
Agarwal is not alone. Kavita Gupta, an Indian woman who splits her time between Delhi, New York, and San Francisco, recently launched a crypto-centric TV program in India through FinTech TV. Gupta, who previously worked with legacy institutions such as the International Finance Corporation, explains Inverse that working in the crypto industry “empowers” because traditional payment railways feel “like a system from a different era.”
There is also Jalak Jobanputra who has invested in four Indian crypto startups and recently moved to an elegant bungalow in Miami. The value of its investments in the loose bull market has risen, but Jobanputra does not yet have a car. She describes Inverse she would rather use sharing apps and spend her money on Bitcoin.
“I have been investing since the early days of the internet,” Jobanputra says. “So I wouldn’t say [cryptocurrency gains] it was life – changing from that perspective, but we built this network of smart people, all over the world, and that has been so vibrant. ”
Certainly there are Indian Bitcoin users who have flexible cars as well. It’s just that they’re not “normal” of the user base. We rarely hear about Bitcoin users who have done nothing flash or extravagant to reduce their new social potential. For example, Woodstock Fund co-founder Pranav Sharma in India, who reports Inverse its blockchain-focused venture capital fund grew from $ 750,000 in 2019 to a portfolio worth more than $ 25 million by 2021, it still drives the only Mahindra SUV it owned before its first his bull in 2017. He’s in the same house too.
Sharma, 38, lives near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, a South Indian state. The way he has splurged with his crypto wealth, over the past few years, has been by reducing his workload to eight hours per day and taking his wife on a spiritual journey to Varanasi.
“It helped me achieve my financial goals,” Sharma says of his Bitcoin investment. “You can eat good food at home. You can do yoga in the morning. In the physical world I worked closer to 12 hours a day. ”
New Bitcoin entertainment class
Instead of buying Lamborghinis, thousands of Bitcoin users around the world opted for more financial freedom by working less or launching their own companies. Unocoin CEO Sathvik Vishwanath, who runs one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in India, says more than 15,000 retail users like Aggarwal have earned cryptocurrency benefits in excess of $ 20,000 from the exchange was launched in 2013.
“I think $ 20,000 would be a life-changing experience in India,” Vishwanath explains Inverse, adding that only 2 percent of the platform’s 1.3 million user accounts were already people with high net worth.
“We have a few hundred institutions that have signed up and made investments and transactions in the past,” he said, “but it is nothing compared to the institutional interest we are seeing. in developed countries like the USA ”
Akshay Aggarwal, 29, is another Indian crypto investor who has made life-changing money by trading on Unocoin.
“I entered the crypto space in September 2015,” Aggarwal explains Inverse. Back then, the price of Bitcoin was below $ 334. “Looking back, I never expected it to ever go back to $ 7,500, which is where I sold it. Since I saw the first circle, I have continued to buy as traders would be active. ”
While one Bitcoin is now valued at more than $ 54,000, Aggarwal lives with his parents while working as the founder of his own consultancy, Blocumen Studios, and an enterprise education known as Blockchained India. It estimates that the latter group includes 33,000 participants across Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, and email list.
“Whatever I got out of the tenancy, I sold it,” Aggarwal says. “I used it mainly for the community we ran until January 2018. Like other co-founders of my community, we expanded it to Bangalore to create a four-city network. ”
Aggarwal projects have enough runway to continue into the future. In his mind, the exchange was worth it because he established a career he loves, with envious job security, despite the pandemic. In fact, a male Bitcoin user is just as likely to prioritize a quiet family life as he is to achieve a “richly funny” tech stereotype.
That is the case with Bluzelle CEO Pavel Bains in Singapore, who reports Inverse The big difference Bitcoin has made in his life since he first bought some in 2014 is that he can now “spend time with my kids, and I don’t worry about school fees.” (He doesn’t have a car either.)
Bains moved to Singapore in 2016 to build his blockchain startup, and says he found more flexible job opportunities in the blockchain space than he did in the video game industry, where he previously worked .
“Cryptocurrency accelerated my ability to build a company,” Bains says. “When I think of the other people I met in space, we would never have had those opportunities if we had done it the traditional way.”
For more on the use of Bitcoin beyond the tech-bros-gone-wild fatigue statement, subscribe to my Substack. Plus, be sure to stay tuned for the next week Inverse column about cryptocurrency. There are so many blockchain myths to debunk, and so little time.