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Indian Web3 Sector Needs Regulations: Avinash Shekhar of Pi42

Last Updated April 7, 2024 11:12 AM
Shraddha Sharma
Last Updated April 7, 2024 11:12 AM
By Shraddha Sharma
Verified by Peter Henn

Key Takeaways

  • Avinash Shekhar of Pi42 views the current period as an opportune time for Web3 startups.
  • Despite regulatory challenges, Shekhar emphasized on “Build for Bharat.”
  • CCN spoke to the co-founder, and CEO of Pi42 as the platform witnesses significant volumes in India

India is a large market with crypto adoption increasing every year. However, the regulatory framework has been a murky space with foreign exchanges exiting the market. Meanwhile, local businesses are increasingly asking for a lower tax regime for crypto players. CCN spoke to Avinash Shekhar co-founder, and CEO of crypto exchange Pi42  to understand the sector’s challenges and opportunities.   

Prime Time for Web3 Startups

Avinash Shekar, the co-founder of crypto exchange Pi42, previously founded TaxNodes, a crypto tax service business based in India.

He believes with Pi42’s user surge after launch, the market’s readiness for decentralized solutions is evident. He told CCN: “According to me there seems to be no better time than now for web3 startups. With growing interest in decentralized technology, blockchain, and crypto, there’s an intense enthusiasm and openness in the market towards innovative ventures in the web3 space.”

Shekar believes that the enthusiasm aligns with India’s finance minister’s vision of a ‘golden era’ for tech-savvy youth. He added: “The number of discussions on crypto that took place during the G20 also gives up some hope to India’s regulation framework.”

India has a major investor base globally but faces competition from regions like Singapore when it comes to licensing web3 startups.

According to Shekhar, India’s regulatory environment has seen shifts in the last five years. He explained: “India has witnessed several regulatory changes in the crypto-asset sector. However, that has led to homegrown crypto-asset companies to differentiate themselves by providing services to users and creating an ecosystem of a Web3 infrastructure in India.”

Shekhar gave importance to “Build for Bharat”. He encouraged tapping into the nation’s tech and entrepreneurial capabilities as web3 appears underappreciated.

The executive added: “While Web3 is still overlooked as a bitcoin/crypto entity the broader scope of Web3 is yet to be appreciated. However, I strongly believe that we must continue to ‘Build for Bharat’ and tap into India’s technological and entrepreneurial potential, the rules and regulations will follow eventually.”

State of India’s Crypto Regulations

The call for regulatory clarity around crypto and web3 has been ongoing since investment in the space gained traction during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shekar said: “Regulatory discussions are crucial to ensure that consumer interests are protected while also developing innovation.”

He calls for lower crypto taxes in India to foster sector growth. Shekar also demands a detailed regulatory framework to guide the industry.

The executive added: “Additionally, there is an urge for the establishment of a comprehensive roadmap outlining the regulatory framework for crypto assets.”

Highlighting global movements towards cryptocurrency acceptance, such as Bitcoin ETFs and blockchain integration by traditional financial systems, Shekhar points out the importance of adaptable regulation for adoption.

He said: “These initiatives showcase the increasing acceptance and integration of crypto-assets into traditional financial systems, highlighting the significance of clear and adaptable regulatory frameworks to support this growing industry.”

Regarding competition, Shekhar notes that Indian businesses have an edge over foreign crypto exchanges, which face legal challenges due to regulatory compliance. He believes Indian companies’ deeper understanding of and compliance with local regulations positions them favorably in the market, especially as foreign entities withdraw.

Shekhar said: “With foreign exchanges winding down operations, Indian entities are better positioned to fill the resulting gaps. Operating in the Indian market enables them to establish trust and credibility with local stakeholders.”

Pi42 has confidence in the improvement of Indian crypto regulations and optimism for a more business-friendly environment. Therefore, Shekhar says, the exchange’s strategy for global expansion remains deeply anchored in its Indian roots.

Bitcoin Bull Run And Broader Impact

Shekhar observes that bull runs, such as the one anticipated with the upcoming bitcoin halving, typically increase trading activity.

He said: “Both Indian and Asian markets may experience higher trading volumes during these periods as traders actively buy and sell crypto. In fact, with the Bitcoin halving approaching we may witness an influx in the market with retail investors who are drawn to the potential for quick profits.”

The Pi42 co-founder also believes that retail investors may play a significant role in driving the trading volumes.

What is Next for India’s Crypto Market?

Avinash Shekhar’s insights offer a vision for India’s Web3 future. However, the complexities of regulatory frameworks still exist as Asian markets are continuously expanding.

India could champion regulatory clarity, advocate for lower crypto taxes, and make use of its homegrown technological talent. Shekhar believes that, if it does that, it could lead web3 globally.  However, with competition from Singapore, it will be a growth worth watching with India’s investor base.

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