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A glimpse into India’s Crypto Awareness Campaign

A glimpse into India’s Crypto Awareness Campaign

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The last decade has shown that the digital asset market can be very profitable for market participants, especially those who can time the market and make informed investments and transactions. For example, $10 invested in BTC in 2013 would now be worth nearly $12,500. As a result, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and others have turned many people into millionaires, sometimes almost instantly.

Especially for inexperienced investors, this combination of high risk and high rewards can make cryptocurrency an enticing but risky playground.

However, cryptocurrencies are also known for their high volatility. The prices of these digital assets can change drastically over the course of a day or even an hour. Not to mention there are other risks in space including fraud, catastrophic failures like last year’s FTX and Terra Luna meltdowns, and many others.

With this in mind, the Indian authorities intend to launch an awareness campaign on cryptocurrencies and online gambling that would educate citizens about these activities and the risks involved. The campaign is run by the Investor Protection and Education Fund (IPEF), which reports to the Department of Corporate Affairs. The groundbreaking awareness campaign aims to address the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies, the risks associated with online gambling and betting, and the perils of investing money in these platforms.

Government officials in India have long inspected both the cryptocurrency and gambling industries. For example, in July 2022, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman raised Reserve Bank of India (RBI) concerns about cryptocurrencies and suggested banning them as they could undermine the country’s monetary and fiscal stability. More recently, the RBI cracked down on cryptocurrency exchanges nationwide for allegedly laundering more than 1,000 rupees.

“The campaign will draw attention to the fact that cryptocurrencies are illegal in India and that investing in such assets carries significant dangers. According to a government official quoted in an ET report, “Any investment that offers people attractive and assured returns carries a high level of risk.

Finally, in February 2022, the government imposed a steep 30 percent tax on cryptocurrency income and a 1 percent TDS on all cryptocurrency transactions.

Retail investors in India are still pouring money into cryptocurrencies despite these obstacles, the declining value of crypto assets and the failure of several major crypto ventures. This demonstrates the need for an appropriate regulatory structure that protects investors’ interests and protects them from potential losses. One such framework is India’s long-pending cryptocurrency policy. However, it is still under development and will be discontinued after receiving international input and a risk assessment.

Until then, the upcoming crypto and online gaming awareness campaign may be of unprecedented importance. It can help control the risk and losses of crypto investors and online gamblers while drafting and implementing proper regulations. Therefore, several market experts welcomed the awareness campaign. “Cryptocurrency investing can be a complex and risky endeavor as the category is extremely volatile and operates 24/7. It’s important that potential investors do their research before making a decision,” WazirX Vice President Rajagopal Menon told The Hindu. The only fear, however, is that the campaign could cast cryptocurrencies in a bad light, as IPEF has previously run awareness campaigns on Ponzi schemes, chit funds, and shady crowdfunding projects. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, officials plan to address the illegality of crypto in India and discuss how it can be used for dubious activities like money laundering. Therefore, experts believe that the tone and wording of the message will be paramount.

“If the government gets stubborn and starts saying that virtual currencies are not legal in India, that will not be entirely true. People can mistakenly assume it’s illegal,” Vipul Kharbanda, a nonresident collaborator with the Center for Internet and Society (CIS), told The Hindu. “One can indulge in illicit transactions such as money laundering using crypto assets. But illegal transactions can also be carried out through legal banking channels,” he explained. Fortunately, IPEF has extensive knowledge of awareness efforts. Since its inception in 2016, this government organization has run around 65,000 awareness campaigns, reaching more than 30,000 people. It is an investor-focused organization that assists complainants with grievance procedures, refund of shares, unclaimed dividends and other deposits, in addition to conducting awareness-raising activities. Therefore, it is expected that the crypto awareness campaign should place a strong focus on the needs of its users and work to protect their interests.

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