Will Cryptocurrency-based payment cards be the next big thing in India?

The introduction of cards could be a great way to boost the adoption of cryptocurrency as a part of the mainstream financial system of the country.

By Nischal Shetty, CEO & FOunder, WazirX

Significant developments taking place in the recent months indicate the growing appetite among Indians for cryptocurrency trading, and it is owed to the institutional and legal precedents which are currently complementing it. The Supreme Court’s recent judgment is being received positively among crypto players and those who view cryptocurrency as a new-age technology that can transform the financial system.

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With several startups venturing into the cryptocurrency race, many are betting big on the innovations in blockchain technology. This is owing to similar pro-crypto trading measures across the world, indicating how it is transforming business operations everywhere. Many have argued about India being left out of the global race to become a leader in the blockchain revolution, and the Supreme Court’s decision to turn down RBI’s 2018 directives is a testament to this widely accepted view. RBI’s arguments about the hazards of allowing cryptocurrency into the banking system and its earlier decision to prohibit bank accounts of crypto players shall now be reversed.

Moreover, Visa has revealed its plans to partner with blockchain companies and bridge the gap between global merchants and cryptocurrencies. Similarly, MasterCard has launched a global initiative issuing payment cards through an authorised cryptocurrency platform for virtual currencies, and the developments are likely to peak enormous interest in India. Indian media is already reporting on a major increase in crypto-exchanges during the lockdown. Efforts by Visa and MasterCard will allow Indians to use payment cards as a digital asset wherever Visa and MasterCard are officially accepted by traders.

The introduction of cards could be a great way to boost the adoption of cryptocurrency as a part of the mainstream financial system of the country. It also aligns with our digital India mission, thereby creating flexible yet transparent and robust digital financial services.

In addition to allowing their operation, their success will likely drive emerging startups to come up with the next generation of blockchain innovation, which could help in integrating people from tier II and III towns into the financial ecosystem. If the RBI’s directives remain measured without excessive regulatory constraints, India could be at the cusp of becoming one of the largest countries for crypto trading, owed to the multifold increase in crypto trading transactions. If local cryptocurrency exchanges get the opportunity to collaborate with global payment giants, it could bring millions of new users into the fold.

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