India digital payments giant Paytm will consider launching crypto-related services if it becomes a regulated asset class in the country, Paytm CFO Madhur Deora told Bloomberg TV on Thursday.
- “Bitcoin is still in a regulatory gray area, if not a regulatory ban in India,” Deora said. “If it [Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies] was ever to become fully legal in the country, then there could be offerings we could launch which could benefit us and benefit users.”
- Cryptocurrencies operate with regulatory uncertainty in India. While there have been several reports about a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies for several years, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has reiterated over time that India will not shut out crypto altogether. Reports in September suggested the government is looking to classify crypto as commodities in the asset class. In the same month, the government set up a panel to study how crypto income could be taxed. Last month, finance ministry officials said that the crypto regulation bill could be introduced for discussions in the budget session of parliament in February next year.
- Founded in 2010, Paytm is a digital payments pioneer in India. The app gained massive popularity after the government announced the demonetization of INR500 and INR1,000 notes in 2016, creating a huge shift to online payments amid the hassles of acquiring cash during the transition. Over the years, however, other players like GPay and PhonePe have captured some of the market. Nevertheless, Paytm currently has over 337 million users and is currently preparing for its initial public offering next week, seeking a valuation of US$20 billion.
- Paytm’s IPO is set to be India’s largest IPO as the company seeks to raise US$2.4 billion. This week, it raised US$1.1 billion from anchor investors including BlackRock and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.