A new fiat-crypto exchange has launched in India, two months after lifting the country’s stringent ban on banks’ dealings with crypto businesses.
The Bangalore-headquartered exchange, dubbed BitPolo, went live on May 6. It was originally founded in March; the same month the Supreme Court ruled against the central bank’s longstanding moratorium on crypto-related banking support.
BitPolo supports Rupee (INR) deposits and withdrawals, and crypto-fiat pairs with major currencies such as Bitcoin (BTC).
In a statement accompanying the launch, Bitpolo chief business officer, Suresh Choudhary, said the exchange team had been building throughout the bear market and considers that the platform’s launch, mid-lockdown, comes at an apposite time:
“The world is slowly inching back towards normalcy post a pandemic and recessionary environment. As we foresee fragilities of traditional asset classes, crypto markets seem to offer the bigger upside.”
Echoing these comments, head of strategy, Chandan Choudhury, argued that “COVID-19 is an eye-opener,” which has exposed the “huge bubble across traditional asset classes fuelled by loose monetary policy.”
Crypto trading volumes surge on veteran exchange WazirX
In correspondence with Cointelegraph, Nischal Shetty, founder and CEO of the well-known Indian exchange, WazirX, revealed that the platform witnessed a month-on-month growth of over 80% in both March and April.
It has also reported a steady increase in user sign-ups and attributes the uptick not only to the improved post-ban climate, but also to the exchange’s proactive role in the case levelled against the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s ban in the Supreme Court and its attendant social media #IndiaWantsCrypto campaign.
Moreover, back in mid-2018 — when the RBI’s controversial imposition was still in force — WazirX had been prompted to transform its business model into a P2P platform so as to avoid in-house crypto-fiat conversion, thereby providing a degree of continuity for domestic traders.
The last factor the exchange considers likely to be contributing to strong volumes is the adverse impact of India’s lockdown on the Indian stock market, which it contends may be leading more citizens to turn to Bitcoin as an alternative investment option.
Some regulatory obstacles remain
Even with the RBI’s ban now lifted, several of India’s crypto exchanges have recently collectively penned a letter to the institution claiming that the current absence of regulatory clarity has led some banks to continue denying services to exchanges dealing with crypto assets.
Exchanges have asked for more clarity as to whether their operations will be classified as dealing with goods, currencies, commodities, or services in order to ascertain whether they are subject to the country’s Goods and Services Tax, or GST.