Ashish Singhal, the CEO and co-founder of homegrown crypto exchange CoinSwitch Kuber, said Liz Truss' appointment as new British prime minister will give a major boost to global crypto regulations. He says countries like the U.K., U.S., and Germany already recognise the potential of crypto and that India is also well-poised to take the lead even if it is "a step or two behind" currently.
"Global crypto regulations get another boost. Incoming British Prime Minister Liz Truss had earlier — when she was a Treasury official—called for policies that don’t “constrain the potential” of crypto," Singhal says in a series of tweets.
He was citing Truss' 2018 statement, in which she said the U.K. should welcome cryptocurrencies in a way that doesn't constrain their potential. “Liberate free enterprise areas by removing regulations that restrict prosperity," he said.
The Indian government has so far maintained silence on legalising cryptos. The draft of the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, ("draft Bill") seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies. The government has cited its volatile nature and the potential of its misuse for criminal acts like money laundering and terrorism as reasons behind not fully supporting private cryptos.
But Singhal says globally, the consensus is emerging on crypto. "Crypto, like any cutting-edge technology, is a force for good when guided by regulations. The previous #UK government (of the same Conservative Party) too was working on crypto regulations," he adds.
Major economies such as the U.K., U.S., and Germany recognise the potential of crypto to supplement and enhance the reach of traditional finance. "Adopting newer technologies and shaping them will help these nations stay ahead," he adds.
He says countries are taking the right steps toward regulating the cryptos. "Policymakers are moving to fill the regulatory vacuum in crypto — be it Europe’s markets in crypto assets (MiCA), the proposed U.S. bill of Responsible Financial Innovation Act, Australia’s recent initiative to “token map” crypto, or the moves by Germany’s financial regulator."
Talking about the potential use case of crypto, Singhal says today, that crypto’s use-cases are in finance, but the tech could well build an internet that redistributes control back to users. "Web3 projects are already advancing: Be it on distributed storage, privacy or creator-friendly music streaming," he says.
He says this explains the forward-looking statements by world leaders such as Truss and U.S. President Joe Biden (executive order in March), as well as the progress these economies have made in implementing comprehensive crypto regulations.
The current progress on the crypto front, he says, bodes well not just for the crypto industry but the broader economy as well. "Nuanced regulations that differentiate various crypto businesses—and how they function—will encourage responsible innovation. This will in turn improve the technology, and make it simpler for the common man."
Singhal hoped that India's policies will scale up fast, adding that the country is well poised to take the lead in the crypto space, even if it is a step or two behind. "Our digital infrastructure, talent pool and startup ecosystem, and tech-savvy users are the magic ingredients needed to build a desi Web 3."
The crypto industry, like the mainstream asset classes, has been badly hit due to a selloff amid an uncertain environment globally. The world's largest crypto by m-cap, Bitcoin, is trading at below $20,000 ($19,913) from the highs of $64,400 in November 2021. Other cryptocurrencies have faced a similar fate.
Despite a huge push by the crypto industry in India, the government has so far shown a clear intent that the country will not legitimise cryptos unless there's a global collective approach towards making them legal. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, during a talk with International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Kristalina Georgieva in April 2022, had said India doesn't recognise cryptocurrencies, which are outside of the central bank. The central bank is yet to come up with a digital currency even though it was part of the FM's announcement in the budget this year.