Source: The Indian Express

Image credit: The indian Express

Cryptocurrency: The Sunday Express meets a range of stakeholders — from investors to coin exchange players and the government — on what could be the way forward.Investor from DelhiIt was in 2018 that Akshat Gupta first decided to invest in the highly valued cryptocurrency.

By then, the currency had been in existence for nine years, and the first transaction where two pizzas were bought in Florida in exchange for 10,000 BTC was eight years old.“A few friends of mine had been tracking the growth of Bitcoin and told me to invest. I found out more about it and found the concept interesting so I decided to invest,” said Gupta, who has a business of pharmaceutical wholesale in Delhi.

At the time, the south Delhi resident bought 14 BTC at Rs 90,000 a piece. It was also around that time that he started to mine other cryptocurrencies such as Lite and Ethereum.Over the past three years, Gupta sold off 10 BTC to retrieve his initial capital.

While the cost of one BTC today is around $ 54,000 or Rs 40 lakh. That of an Ethereum is $ 4,100. The 4 BTC that Gupta owns today are now worth around 1.6 crore.

The Centre’s decision to introduce the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021 in the upcoming winter session of the Parliament, however, does not have Gupta worried.

To me, it hardly matters. Nobody can stop Bitcoin or other currencies because they are not controlled by a country or exchange. Regularisation or even a ban is not something I worry about because these decisions will not have a permanent impact on the value. If it becomes illegal in India, I can sell them to someone in another country as it is a global asset whose price is not dictated by the decision of the Indian government,” he said.

Explained |Digital currencies and how they work
With new cryptocurrency exchanges opening up and advertising aggressively in India, thousands of people are turning to investment in crypto currencies.

For them, Gupta has one piece of advice.

“No one should invest their entire savings in crypto currencies. If, for example, you have Rs 1 crore in different forms of savings, you should not invest more than Rs 1-2 lakh. Some people who are suffering because of the fluctuations in the value of cryptos are the ones who have invested huge amounts from their savings. There is nothing called stability here. Moreover, I believe it is not possible to see the kind of returns here now as it was earlier. If you were an early investor, you could have easily made 20 to 30 times your initial investment. Now, you can only expect it to double. There are only 21 million Bitcoin that can be mined, so there is saturation in the market now,” he said.

Investor from Rajasthan

From earning Rs 500 per month at a mobile shop during school vacations to help pay off family loans to being the rising poster boy of cryptocurrency in India, Aditya Singh, now in his early 30s, has come a long way.

Growing up, Aditya saw some difficult days. He was summoned by school management for non-payment of fee, the home often had power cut off due to default on payment, there was little food on the table many days, and when he was older, the family couldn’t afford to pay for a computer course that he wanted to do.

He graduated with BCom and his first aim, he says, was to make money and pay off all the family loans. So after college, he jumped onto the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) boom and worked for about 3-4 years.

He first heard about cryptocurrency sometime around early 2013, when Bitcoin went up to about 260 USD, and then it crashed. It briefly drew his curiosity but he was still “suspicious” of it. Then in late 2013, Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht was arrested and Aditya was again drawn towards cryptocurrency “Back then I had wondered how do you cash it,” says Aditya

His curiosity got the better of him and in 2014, he downloaded a Bitcoin node software on his computer to mine Bitcoin. “I realised you have to continuously run it, and it used to consume a lot of GPU power and I couldn’t do other tasks,” he says. He was fed up within two days and uninstalled the software.


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