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India leads first-time crypto buyers in the world in 2021: Gemini report

India leads first-time crypto buyers in the world in 2021: Gemini report
Photo Credit: Pixabay
5 Apr, 2022
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Indian buyers are among the highest first-time adopters of cryptocurrencies around the world, according to a new report on global cryptocurrency adoption by crypto exchange Gemini. The report, titled ‘2022 Global State of Crypto’, found in its survey conducted between November 2021 and February 2022 that 54% of Indian users bought their first private cryptocurrency tokens in 2021 – ahead of other strong first-time buying nations such as Brazil and Hong Kong (both at 51%).

India’s overall average outpaces that of the Asia-Pacific region, where 45% of respondents told Gemini that they purchased their first crypto holdings in 2021. In terms of overall adoption noted in the report, India ranks just outside the top 10 global crypto owners by nation. While Indonesia and Brazil have the highest crypto holdings among users – with 41% respondents from each nation stating that they own crypto – one of every five Indians (about 20%) said that they have crypto holdings as of February 2022.

India stands at an inflection point in the cryptocurrency space, with the upcoming cryptocurrency regulation bill expected to lay down the laws in terms of the usage of private cryptocurrency tokens such as Bitcoin and Ether in India, the legality of general users investing in crypto, functioning of crypto exchanges and the taxation regime to be levied on profits made from crypto investments.

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While the Indian Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, has previously stated that the central government is not looking to impose a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies and technologies associated with it, India is yet to clarify the exact state of legality in terms of long-term crypto investments made in the country.

Such uncertainties are underlined in the Gemini report as well. According to the report, regulatory uncertainty in cryptocurrencies, lack of education and awareness, and heavy crypto tax impositions are key reasons why crypto adoption is being held back in some quarters. In Asia-Pacific, two of every five survey respondents told Gemini that legal uncertainty in crypto is the biggest reason why they have not invested in cryptocurrencies.

Despite such uncertainties, there have been cases of official crypto adoptions around the world. The municipal body of Rio De Janeiro, the capital city of Brazil, announced recently that it would allow users to pay for real estate taxes in Bitcoin, to begin with.

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Yesterday, on 4 April, officials of the government of the United Kingdom said at a conference that the nation will look to support cryptocurrency projects and startups with “dynamic” regulations that are adapted to the latest technologies, promote the use of stablecoins in the country, and issue an ‘official’ non-fungible token (NFT) as a sign of intent to be a global adopter of cryptocurrencies.