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Cryptocurrency: Small cities register growth of 2648 percent in user sign-ups on WazirX

Apart from user sign-ups, WazirX also revealed interesting figures on signups by Indian women indicating that the lack of regulations in India has not dented investor interest in crypto. 

WazirX, an India-based cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, etc., registered an increase of 2648% in user sign-ups from tier-II and tier-III cities like Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Ranchi, Imphal, and Mohali, among others, according to a statement released by the company.

Cryptocurrency investments in India have grown significantly since the Supreme Court of India overturned an RBI ban restricting banks from providing services to crypto-based businesses. Many crypto exchanges have rolled out marketing campaigns on popular platforms like the Indian Premier League signalling their intention to drive mass adoption of investment in crypto, as per a report by IMPACT magazine. Given the complicated nature of the investment, one would expect tier-I cities to be at the forefront of this adoption. However, the data from WazirX suggests that crypto exchanges are being accepted by users in other parts of the country as well.    

Data revealed by WazirX

The Binance-owned crypto exchange stated that people were looking for new ways to earn online and diversify their portfolios. 

  • Fifty-five percent of sign-ups on WazirX stem from tier-II and tier-III cities in 2021
  • Tier-II cities like Ahmedabad, Lucknow, and Patna reported average growth of 2950%
  • Tier-III cities like Ranchi, Imphal, and Mohali reported average growth of 2455% 
  • Tier-I cities in comparison saw a signup growth of 2375%
  • Sixty-five percent of total signups by Indian women on WazirX come from tier-II and tier-III cities
  • WazirX claimed to have recorded over $21.8 Billion in trading volume in 2021 to date with a total base of 7.3 million users

The state of cryptocurrency regulations in India

The data from WazirX is indicative of the fact that the lack of crypto regulations in the country has not lowered the risk appetite of Indians vis-à-vis cryptocurrency. India has been on the fence about cryptocurrencies as there is no law governing the crypto ecosystem in India. A crypto bill has been in the works for many years.

  • The Reserve Bank of India banned regulated entities including banks from providing services to crypto exchanges in 2018It said that cryptocurrencies raise concerns of “consumer protection, market integrity, and money laundering, among others”.
  • A report by the Finance Ministry in 2019 (the report was drafted in 2017 but never made public)  advocated for a ban on the use of cryptocurrency in India. The report was drafted by an inter-ministerial committee chaired by the secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs Subhash Chandra Garg
  • The RBI ban was then overturned by the Supreme Court of India in 2020 which said that the move was “disproportionate”. It led to a surge in sign-ups across various crypto exchanges as they were able to access banking services. 
  • The Government of India said that it was looking to table the crypto bill before the Parliament so as to ensure there is clarity and transparency on the state of cryptocurrency in India.
  • The RBI is also working towards a “phased implementation strategy” for the introduction of central bank-backed digital currency (CBDC), Digital Rupee, and examining use cases to ensure that its execution does not cause any disruption. It will give the regulators necessary powers of oversight and monitoring which cryptocurrencies do not offer at present. 
  • ​​Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters this week that the proposed legislation on cryptocurrencies has been tabled before the Cabinet and is awaiting its approval.

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I cover several beats such as Crypto, Telecom, and OTT at MediaNama. I can be found loitering at my local theatre when I am off work consuming movies by the dozen.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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