30% crypto tax spurs bonanza for digital-coin exchanges

NEW DELHI: India’s decision to impose a 30% tax on profits from cryptocurrency trading is turning out to be a boon for the country’s digital-asset exchanges.
Binance-owned WazirX, India’s largest crypto bourse, has seen daily sign-ups on its platform jump almost 30% since February 1, when the government unveiled the levy on the transfer of digital assets in its annual budget, said co-founder Nischal Shetty.
At rival CoinSwitch, the daily increase was 35%, according to founder Ashish Singhal.
While it might seem counterintuitive that a steep tax would cause people to flock to digital tokens, the step was seen as legitimizing an industry that’s been in regulatory limbo amid fierce resistance from the Resereve Bank of India (RBI).
Shetty said he expects some 100 million people in the country to start investing in crypto in the next two to three years.
“Investors are seeing a lot of clarity and visibility now with taxation announced in the budget,” Shetty said in an interview. “Earlier, people were on the sidelines wondering if cryptos were allowed or not.”
Neither exchange disclosed how many customers they added in total since February 1.
The average new client puts about Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 ($400 to $533) in their trading account, said Shetty. WazirX is also seeing more interest from companies that until now were wary of the “optics” of investing in crypto, he said.
India has yet to introduce legislation governing digital assets, leaving its mushrooming crypto industry mired in uncertainty.
At the same time, the Reserve Bank of India has been a vocal critic, with governor Shaktikanta Das earlier this month calling cryptocurrencies a threat to stability and comparing them unfavorably to the 17th century Dutch tulip mania.

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