‘Wait is Frustrating’: Indian Crypto Players Fear Losing Web3 Talent, Funding Amid Legal Delays

The next eighteen months could seem like a lifetime for Web3 firms, waiting to take their operations full scale in the most populated country of the world, India. Despite a crypto roadmap having been finalised by G20 this year, India is still at least a year-and-a-half away from deploying these laws. Officials from India’s finance ministry have recently disclosed in the Parliament that the country is assessing potential risks that cryptocurrencies could pose to its existing financial systems.

In conversation with Gadgets 360, Kumar Gaurav, the founder and CEO of Cashaa said that the wait for India to finally get its crypto laws is ‘undeniably frustrating’ for industry players. Cashaa is a banking platform that lets users manage the traditional real-world economy and cryptocurrency together with a single account.

“The most concerning outcome of a delayed implementation of a comprehensive regulatory framework for crypto is the potential flight of resources, funding, and skilled talent – key strengths for a developing nation like India,” Gaurav said while noting that this sentiment extends to venture capitalists who seek returns on their investments and await regulatory clarity before further funding in this sector.

Presently, a bunch of other countries are taking brisk steps to incorporate crypto assets in their economies. Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Singapore among regions from the UK, US, Asia, and Middle East are regulating the crypto sector in a way that makes their respective markets lucrative for crypto players to set up shops in.

Indian crypto community members like Gaurav are concerned that the delay in India getting its comprehensive crypto laws could result in required assets flowing to more established jurisdictions.

“This scenario could result in India relinquishing its current leading position in the blockchain and crypto space, necessitating a catch-up phase once the regulatory framework is eventually established,” the chief of Cashaa added.

Currently, the crypto sector is at the least, partially regulated in India. Firstly, all crypto incomes are taxed 30 percent, and one percent tax is deducted on each crypto transaction to maintain some kind of a trail for these otherwise largely anonymous transactions.

Secondly, as decided by Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) earlier this year, the governments of several countries including India need to mandate crypto firms to collect identificatory information on the senders, recipients, and beneficiaries of virtual assets.

In addition, India has also directed all firms operating in the crypto and Web3 sectors to register themselves with the country’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to conduct their businesses legally here.

Apart from these instructions, the implementation of G20’s crypto roadmap is awaited in the country. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) released a joint synthesis paper this September, that makes the roadmap that the G20 nations will follow in-terms of finetuning the global crypto sector.

This document laid down the foundational work for the upcoming crypto laws to be supported on. The suggestions included supervision and oversight of global stablecoin arrangements (GSCs) along with support for responsible fintech innovation. The FSB also asked crypto-interested nations to leave a margin for domestic judiciary approaches.

Meanwhile, industry players have urged their fellow companies to adhere to the current directions issued by the government in order to gain sovereign’s trust on the crypto sector.

“We have to ensure that companies also abide by anti-money laundering regulations and have necessary KYC checks in place. As long as Web3 companies continue to abide by the current laws in place, there is no threat to businesses,” Rajagopal Menon, Vice President, WazirX told Gadgets 360, commenting on the matter.

The reason why India is seeing a delay in deploying its concrete crypto regulations was recently touched upon by Jayant Sinha, the Chair of the Standing Committee on Finance in India’s Parliament.

“Global standards are still evolving and 2024 is the year of elections around the world. Many important countries, whether it’s the US, the UK, India, are going in for elections. So, I’m not sure in 2024 the standards will develop. We also have to see what’s going to emerge from the (crypto) meltdown about whether some of these companies are going to survive,” Sinha said at a recent event.

“We are looking forward to regulations which are specific to India and must understand that it will be an ongoing process. India has one of the most lucrative markets for this industry with the right combination of talent, resources and learning opportunities that need to be agile that would help them evolve with the onset of regulations,” WazirX’s Menon noted.

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