India’s flourishing fintech sector is craving the finance minister’s attention
While most industries have long lists of demands from finance minister Arun Jaitley leading up to the budget on Feb. 01, India’s booming fintech sector primarily has just one wish—that its presence be acknowledged.
While the Narendra Modi government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have already laid down regulations for certain segments, such as peer-to-peer lending, others like cryptocurrencies and online lending startups are yet to be regulated. Such regulation may mean stricter compliance, but the management at these firms believe it will lend legitimacy to the industry, which is expected to be worth $2.4 billion by 2020. That, in turn, will help them grow faster.
“Given the growth in the number of participants in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and trading volumes, it is time that the government makes its stand known,” said Ajeet Khurana, head of the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Committee, a lobby of bitcoin players. “Even if a detailed policy framework is not possible at this stage, an indication of the government’s mind will help in the robust growth of one of the fastest-growing sectors of fintech.”
The Indian government is clearly not comfortable with cryptocurrencies and has even compared them to ponzi schemes. However, it hasn’t taken any steps to ban them either.
“The government and the RBI have been repeating the same statements on bitcoin since December 2013. Therefore, it is clear that if they had to probably ban it then they would have had done it by now. So it is better that they at least give an indication about the regulations,” said Sathvik Vishwanath, co-founder and CEO of Unocoin, a bitcoin exchange.
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