Crypto is an emerging yet attractive asset class. It is a $1.25 trillion market globally. The India adoption story is no different with nearly 20 million unique users, over $6.6 billion in investments and more than a billion dollars in venture capital funding. India is already the second-largest in terms of crypto adoption globally. Crypto in India has come a long way but this is just the beginning Crypto is a billion people industry in the making. Govind Soni, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, CoinSwitch, India's largest crypto investing app, told IANS that their priority is to make it transparent, trustworthy and secure, and enable Indians to participate in this technology shift in a meaningful way.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: Why is Crypto important, and how can India benefit from it?
A: Crypto is the gateway to a decentralised internet. The computing power of the billions of devices around the world can be utilised and incentivised using Crypto to build a new internet, called Web3. India has the opportunity to take the lead in this transformation. We have the talent, users and the startup ecosystem. And we are witnessing an upskilling and migration of India's large pool of engineers and developers to the cutting-edge and advanced field of blockchain and crypto. All this puts India in a sweet spot. With an enabling regulatory environment, India can get a headstart and steer the direction of Web3 while it is built.
Q: Crypto has come a long way. Every day we hear news that even Wall Street giants are adopting Crypto. Why is that?
A: Institutional adoption is a sign that Crypto has well and truly grown beyond white papers to be a smart investment class. The origin of Crypto may have been based on an idea of a digital currency, but now it has evolved to become an attractive, emerging asset class. There are several interesting use-cases being built on this technology. That is the intrinsic value of Crypto: The confidence and uptake of the underlying blockchain technology. Institutional investors understand this and have done their due diligence. While retail investors continue to be the early adopters and torchbearers of Cryptos, growing institutional adoption underlines the fact that this is an asset class that is here to stay. Even traditional markets are adopting and gaining exposure to Cryptos. All of this bodes well for the growth of the asset class.
Q: What about India? There is regulatory uncertainty on Crypto here. Do you see this changing and Crypto becoming a mainstream asset class here?
A: Certainly. Cryptos are an emerging asset class that speak to India's digital-savvy population. With regulatory clarity, institutional investors too will find the confidence to invest in and benefit from Cryptos.As we have seen globally, Cryptos can attract significant institutional and foreign investments if regulations can enable innovations and provide the necessary guardrails. India can benefit similarly. Innovations such as decentralised finance, or DeFi, can be an effective and fast enabler of capital for small and medium-scale businesses in India. Crypto is also paving the way for interesting applications such as decentralized social media that Indians can greatly benefit from.
Q: How is CoinSwitch protecting investors on its platform?
A: At CoinSwitch, investor protection is of utmost importance to us. While we have been using various digital platforms to inform, educate and engage with new crypto enthusiasts, we are continuously updating our app to help users make informed investing decisions. And, numbers tell the story. The average time a user spends on our app reading, buying, selling, or trading has gone up to 27 minutes from 13 minutes in January 2021. In line with our ongoing product feature upgrades to tighten platform security, we have launched Riskometer -- our attempt to help users think twice before investing in a coin. The Riskometer provides a risk warning on coins that are highly volatile, or when the risk assessment suggests that users need to proceed with caution while investing. We understand that ensuring compliance with relevant regulations is key to ensuring a safe, secure, and trustworthy user experience. Users on our platform can utilise their account balances (of Indian Rupees and crypto assets) to only transact on our platform or withdraw Indian Rupees. They can only deposit Indian Rupees from their verified bank account. Similarly, after selling crypto assets, users can withdraw Indian Rupees only to their verified bank account.
Q: What does cloud technology enable you to do better?
A: Amazon Web Services (AWS) allows to scale up on infrastructure and services without having any dependencies, or minimum usage commitments. AWS continues to make incremental improvements to its solutions and services, allowing us to easily deliver value to our customers. If we had to build these capabilities on our own it would have taken us significantly longer. With the shared responsibility model, security of the cloud is addressed by AWS and this helps us considerably reduce our efforts towards security and compliance. AWS account team and Enterprise Support provides proactive guidance and support as we scale our platforms. AWS is the easy answer for any internet-based ecosystem that wants to scale faster. CoinSwitch is trusted by over 18 million registered users, making it the largest crypto investing app in India. Ours is a built-to-scale platform developed on top of AWS. Among a host of things, AWS has improved our time to market, handle spikes in traffic, and manage risks more efficiently. All of these put together help us provide a simplified and secure user experience on the app.