India’s cryptocurrency sector is booming during the extended nationwide lockdown.
Growing Interest in Cryptocurrency in India as Lockdown Extends
India recently extended its nationwide lockdown by another fortnight due to the coronavirus outbreak. While lockdowns have crippled many economies worldwide, the Indian crypto sector is seeing significant growth in interest, trading volumes as well as the number of new users, according to several crypto exchange executives.
“I’m seeing more people wanting to spend their time under lockdown in learning and understanding what crypto is, how it works, what are the use cases of various crypto tokens etc.,” Nischal Shetty, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Wazirx. “People in India are more upbeat about crypto,” especially with the recent cryptocurrency price increases, he described, reiterating the positive trend he observed in April. The Wazirx CEO elaborated:
“The extended lockdown has led to people showing even greater interest in crypto in India. With millions of people not having the opportunity to work due to lockdown, crypto is turning out to be an opportunity for Indians to trade and earn from it.”
Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Unocoin, shares the positive sentiment. “Given the crypto industry has opened up two months ago, I would say the industry is happy in spite of lockdown,” he told news.Bitcoin.com on Monday. “This situation is a lot better than the one we faced due to regulatory confusion for two years.”
Zebpay chief marketing officer Vikram Rangala sees a similar trend at his exchange. “The extended lockdown has not hurt Zebpay’s business – More likely, being at home gives people time to download our ebooks, learn about crypto, and decide to join Zebpay.” He continued: “We decided to start working remotely even before the lockdown and were already working on work-from-home flexibility, so we were able to adapt quickly … We’ve also been hiring new people at the same rate we would have without the lockdown.”
Exchanges See 10X Trading Volumes During Lockdown
All three crypto exchange executives are seeing record-breaking volumes on their trading platforms. “Our trading volume has been increasing rapidly week over week,” Wazirx’s CEO confirmed. “In fact, this week we recorded one of our highest daily trading volume of over $10M.” He additionally revealed, “Our user signups have also shot up tremendously. We also hit an ATH for our weekly active users number last week,” adding: “Our trading volume before the lockdown in India used to be around $1M. It has grown over 10X in just 60 days.”
Sharing the positive sentiment, Zebpay’s CMO said: “just last week we had another record volume (since our January relaunch) day. New registrations and KYCs are also doing well. We’ve added staff and automations to handle the KYC load and new deposits. Other Indian firms also seem to be active and doing well.” He opined: “One thing is clear from everything we’ve seen: India’s crypto winter only increased people’s interest in sound digital assets and new ways to take control of their wealth. That’s not going away.”
There are also other factors that could have resulted in increased interest in cryptocurrency as well as trading volumes in India. Unocoin’s CEO pointed out that “both the pandemic and the regulatory clarity happened at the same time in India.” It was only in March that the Supreme Court of India quashed the banking restriction that the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), imposed on the crypto industry in its April 2018 circular. During the court hearing, it was also reiterated that cryptocurrency is legal in India. Following the supreme court ruling, crypto exchanges began bringing back INR support. Vishwanath confirmed that on his exchange: “The present volumes are definitely 10X than before these two events.”
He concluded that the only question now would be “would we have done better with just regulatory clarity but not the pandemic and I think it might have been marginally better. Only time will tell.”