About 20 million Indians got on the cryptocurrency bandwagon in 2021

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Bombay: Vishal Gupta is also busy when sitting in a hair salon in Noida sector 168.

The 34-year-old cryptocurrency investor is keeping an eye on Bitcoin prices via an app, looking for signals on which direction it will take.

Across India, the situation is slightly different. About 20 million people in the country jumped on the cryptocurrency bandwagon in 2021. Cryptocurrencies have even become part of the Indian investor lexicon.

Currently, Indians hold cryptocurrencies worth $ 5.3 billion.

“Bitcoin (BTC) prices dictate the rest of the market. I don’t have a clear idea of ​​how it will move in the near future, so I’m following it closely, “says Gupta.

Aided by high-decibel campaigns and cryptocurrency prices that hit all-time highs in April 2021 (BTC hit $ 63,729 on April 3), many small Indian investors have invested their venture capital in cryptocurrencies.

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In the beginning, they mainly collected Bitcoin, the first and most popular currency in the world.

They followed it up with Ethereum and later started experimenting with alternative (alt) coins like Solana, Polygon, and Terraluna and also stable coins like Tether.

As a result, crypto platforms have experienced record growth in users and transaction volumes.

India’s largest cryptocurrency brokerage platform, CoinSwitch Kuber, experienced a 3,500% increase in transaction volumes and recently reached 14 million users.

Leading cryptocurrency exchange, WazirX, recorded a record trading volume of more than $ 43 billion in 2021, the highest in India, growing by 1.735% since 2020.

BitBns, another leading exchange, has increased its user base by 849% and trading volumes more than 45 times in the past year.

“2021 has been an explosive year for most cryptocurrency companies,” says Gaurav Dahake, founder and CEO of cryptocurrency exchange BitBns.

As the year went by, cryptocurrencies quickly became mainstream.

People from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities started to participate in numbers, and major players also launched new products to attract a larger user base.

“We’ve come a long way in 2021. We started this year with around 1.5 million registered users and surpassed 14.5 million users by the end of the year. From being a 30-member team working in a small space in Bangalore in January, we are already 400 strong and united in the goal of “making money equal for everyone,” says Ashish Singhal, founder and CEO, CoinSwitch Kuber.

Despite two crashes this year – in May and early December – Indians continued to flock to the cryptocurrency bandwagon, fueled by outsized returns.

People who invested even small amounts in 2020 or 2019 have made good returns.

The maximum number of new people joining crypto platforms in 2021.

“Hence, these investors tend to panic and sell during crashes and periods of high volatility. They may still be in the red, “says cryptocurrency investor Gupta.

Crypto has also brought new cohorts of investors to the market: young people and women.

“Our research shows that for many young people, cryptocurrencies were their first ever investment,” says Praveen Kumar, founder and CEO of blockchain firm Belfrics Group.

At CoinSwitch Kuber, 15% of the total user base is made up of women.

A systematic investment plan by BitsBns saw 2.5 times more participation than women.

Cryptocurrencies are, however, a very volatile asset class and Indian investors are slowly getting used to the vagaries of the market.

On January 1, 2021, Bitcoin was at $ 29,374 (it hit $ 48,174 at 5pm on Friday), while Ethereum was at $ 730.37 (at $ 3,783.48 at 5pm).

In October, Shiba Inu gave a return of 828.85%, while Dogecoin’s one-year return was 1,673.75%.

In November, Bitcoin hit an all-time high of $ 68,000.

Many speculative investors have made their fortunes by investing small amounts in meme coins like Shiba Inu and Dogecoin and making money over time.

According to a report by cryptocurrency research firm Chainalysis, India is one of the fastest growing cryptocurrency markets in the world, with a 641% increase between July 2020 and June 2021.

At the moment, the government is drafting legislation on cryptocurrencies, but the regulations could be delayed due to the complex nature of cryptocurrency exchanges.

Stakeholders, including regulators, have submitted their statements to a group of federal lawmakers, and the industry expects the cryptocurrency and the official digital currency law regulation of 2021 to become law during the next budget session.

“With a progressive law in place, cryptocurrency mainstreaming will continue into 2022,” says BitBns’ Dahake.


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