Updated 16 Jun, 2021

Infosys Chairman Calls for Accepting Bitcoin as an Asset Class


Key Takeaways:

  • The chair of Infosys pushed for the adoption of cryptos as investable assets
  • He doesn’t think cryptocurrencies could serve well as means of payment

The chairman of Infosys, Nandan Nilekani, has urged the Indian government to embrace Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as an asset class. Mr. Nilekani is the co-founder and chair of Infosys, the information technology and consulting company. He has worked with Indian authorities on various digital policies. His recent comments aim to navigate the country’s approach to the nascent market.

Infosys Chair Thinks Bitcoin Falls Under the Category of Assets

Nandan Nilekani believes Bitcoin and its peers are too volatile to be used as means of payment. However, he said cryptocurrency should be adopted by traditional finance as a separate asset class, similar to gold or silver.

“Just like you have some of your assets in gold or real estate, you can have some of your assets in crypto,” he told in an interview. “I think there’s a role for crypto as a stored value but certainly not in a transactional sense.”

In his view, the Indian government should allow broader access to the cryptocurrency market. In return, he expects “the crypto guys would put their wealth into India’s economy”. The country of 1.36bn people is a potentially huge market for crypto. However, currently its stance toward the fledgling market is unclear as there are looming prospects of an outright ban despite high interest among individuals.

India Mulls Over the Idea of Making Private Coins Illegal

Indian authorities said earlier in the year that they plan to introduce a bill that would “prohibit all private cryptocurrencies”. If a ban is introduced, it would make India one of the world’s toughest jurisdictions when it comes to cryptos.

The Reserve Bank of India in 2018 made it illegal for financial institutions to deal in cryptocurrencies. In 2019, the government considered to prevent anyone from dealing with digital tokens. Last year, officials raised hopes that India might take a softer approach. India’s Supreme Court overturned the central bank’s directive from 2018. At the moment, the market is largely operating in a grey area due to the lack of a focused approach by the government. Some banks have stated they plan to take action against anyone involved in the crypto market.

Most recently, the Indian government stated it was planning to introduce legislation that would make all private digital currencies illegal. This move is expected as part of a broader effort to launch a government-backed, central-bank run digital currency.

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