Despite the volatility in prices and lack of regulation in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, countless Indians are warming towards digital currency. In fact India has the highest number of cryptocurrency owners in the world, followed by the US and Russia, says a report.
More than 10 crore individuals own cryptocurrencies in India, reveals a study by portal BrokerChooser. The US came in second with 2.74 crore cryptocurrency owners, followed by Russia (1.74 crore) and Nigeria (1.30 crore).
In terms of percentage of population, Ukraine topped the chart with 12.73 percent, followed by Russia at 11.91 percent and Kenya at 8.52 percent. India stood fifth with 7.3 percent.
In terms of internet searches in the past 12 months, India stood second with almost 36 lakh crypto searches after US, which saw the highest number of searches at 69 lakh.
Industry trends reveal that there is a high level of penetration of digital currency in tier II and tier III cities in India apart from the metros. Some of these users are trying to make crypto their first investment class.
In 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had banned banks from supporting crypto transactions in lieu of the rising number of fraud cases through virtual currencies. However, the Supreme Court squashed the ban in March 2020, saying cryptocurrencies were not illegal but unregulated in India. Since then, there has been an exponential rise in interest in cryptocurrencies, with Indian bourses seeing impressive user additions and surges in daily trading volumes.
Such was the rise that popular crypto exchanges overtook Indian stockbroker Zerodha in the number of users. At present, Zerodha has around seven million users, while CoinSwitch Kuber has 11 million and WazirX has 8.3 million.
Also read: CNBC-TV18, in association with WazirX, successfully concludes the first edition of ‘The Indian Crypto Summit 2021’
“Digital assets have caught everyone’s attention not only because it has emerged as the best asset class of 2021 but also because other asset classes are not able to fulfil the aspiration of the smart investors who want their money to grow in tandem with global growth rate," Shivam Thakral, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange BuyUcoin, told Mint.
A previous study by Chainalysis showed India ranked second out of 154 countries on the 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index. According to the report, India’s cryptocurrency market grew 641 percent over the past year.
“It looks like digital assets have become a choice to beat inflation," Jay Hao, CEO of global crypto exchange OKEx.com, told Mint.
The Centre is currently in the process of introducing a Bill to regulate cryptocurrencies in India.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)