Webinar: Digital Assets and the Crypto landscape in India

By Nisha Karavadra-Diwan

On 8 September, UK India Business Council (UKIBC) hosted a webinar on Digital Assets and the Crypto landscape in India and what the future holds for it from a regulatory standpoint.

UKIBC’s Nisha Karavadra-Diwan, Associate Director moderate the discussion with Kaustubh Deodhar, a Senior Director in the Technology Advisory practice at FTI Consulting and Rashmi Deshpande, a Partner at Business Law Chamber.

Although there remains a lack of legal definition, the commonly accepted definition of a digital asset is that it is any digital material owned by an individual or an enterprise which is stored digitally and is uniquely identifiable with blockchain. Blockchains are blocks of approvals which are uniquely identifiable and once set cannot be changed. Among the advantages of using blockchain is it reduces the need for multiple intermediaries, such as banks or regulators, and hence becomes time and cost efficient.

Kaustubh discussed some of the benefits of blockchain in both the private as well as public sectors.  For example, the usage of blockchain for insurance matters in rural India and use of digital documents. However, it has been found that adoption rates of new technology have been low in banks.

The rule of the land is still somewhat unclear on digital assets.  Rashmi, outlined the rules and regulations around Crypto currencies. She went on to note that the governing bodies have taken what has generally been opined as a cautious view.

Legal bills have been attempted to be introduced with a hard stop being placed on any engagement to do with Crypto Currencies although this approach has been rather unsuccessful. Recently government placed a 30% tax on virtual digital assets which included crypto currencies and NFTs.

Due to the lack of regulation and with the previous approach by government being conservative to a large extent, Rashmi believes that companies in the sector are in a high-risk environment due to the uncertainty that still persists in the sector in India. Therefore, she believes, it is paramount to have regulation to protect the interest of both the consumers who engage in crypto activities and those businesses dealing with buying and selling it.

In conclusion, Rashmi stated an ask for government to create a specific body to undertake the task of reviewing the regulations and for authorities like SEBI and other experts in the industry to engage collectively. The specific body would be able to understand the changes happening in the crypto world and therefore be able to take fast decisions and to effectively regulate the crypto scenario, she said.

The session was concluded with a Q&A session.

Many thanks to our brilliant speakers for providing their time and resources for this webinar. If you were unable to join our session on the day, or would like to go through the webcast again, we invite you to watch the webinar via the UKIBC youtube channel for the discussion in full:

 


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