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Indians Hold Cryptocurrency Assets Worth More Than $1.5 Billion: Q&A With Paxful

By: Vishal Mathur

Last Updated: June 03, 2021, 10:34 IST

Indians Hold Cryptocurrency Assets Worth More Than $1.5 Billion: Q&A With Paxful

Only invest what you are comfortable risking when it comes to crypto coin investments, says Artur Schaback, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Paxful.

Cryptocurrency, everyone seems to think, is very cool. There are inherent risks too with investments, and if you don’t understand crypto coins as a concept, this can be complicated too. Chances are, you’d be unable to fathom why there is so much volatility when it comes to crypto pricing. And if we are to factor in the scenario unfolding in India as we speak, banking institutions are adding to the complexity by simply refusing to play ball and support cryptocurrency investment apps and platforms. Many believe these will get resolved with time. If you are ready to take the risk, you can take the plunge and invest in cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Cardano, Dogecoin, Shiba Inu and Polygon.

With the backdrop of the rising cryptocurrency excitement and awareness in India coupled with the banking troubles that a lot of cryptocurrency apps are reporting as well as reports that the Government intends to set up a panel of cryptocurrency experts as a first step towards regulating cryptocurrency in India, News18 spoke with Artur Schaback, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Paxful, a peer to peer (P2P) trading platform, who believes that despite the uncertainty, the expected panel of experts who will take the first step towards regulating crypto in India, is a cause to remain optimistic. Schaback also insists that the crypto investment has matured and no longer are investors afraid that the price will continue to fall.

Q: How would you define cryptocurrencies and amidst all the jargon and tweeting, what would you want crypto followers to focus on?
A cryptocurrency is a digital currency or asset designed as a medium of exchange. Many cryptocurrencies are decentralized systems of payment based on blockchain technology—a distributed ledger technology that certifies records and transactions without the use of a central database. This decentralized structure allows cryptocurrency to exist outside the control of a central authority. What’s most valuable is that cryptocurrency is a strong financial solution and can be used for things such as payments and e-commerce, wealth preservation, and investing. Also, by leveraging cryptocurrency within a peer-to-peer marketplace, consumers have access to practically any financial network in the world and are better enabled to gain financial freedom. 

Q: How do you see the cryptocurrency market developing in the next 12 months or so, particularly in India?
Demand for cryptocurrency in India is rising. According to a recent IndiaTech.org report, Indian users currently hold cryptocurrency assets worth more than $1.5 billion and their daily trades in cryptocurrency are worth $350-500 million. I expect that interest and the use of cryptocurrency will only continue to grow — especially as the technology becomes more accessible to users and education around cryptocurrency becomes more prolific. 

Q: For crypto investors in India, how risky is it considering banks seem to be hesitant to engage with crypto trading platforms? Is there a risk of being locked out of the investment?
There is some uncertainty at this stage, but we remain optimistic, especially after hearing reports that the central government may form a fresh panel of experts to study the possibility of regulating cryptocurrency in India. There are several stakeholders involved in this conversation but we all want the same thing: to provide a strong financial solution for as many people as possible, one that is even more inclusive, robust, and safer for users.

Q: Crypto startups in India have been facing challenges with banking support being pulled back. How much of a challenge will that be in the short term and long-term outlook? 
We’re optimistic that the traditional banking systems and the cryptocurrency companies will work together to strengthen the cryptocurrency industry. But for Paxful, unlike traditional crypto exchanges, users don’t need a bank account to use Paxful. Our platform allows users to transact with almost 400 methods of buying and selling bitcoin including online wallets and gift cards. 

Q: How urgent is the need for a cryptocurrency panel in India? The government has talked about a calibrated approach.
We see the needs as urgent because education around cryptocurrency is vital. This move would help provide a fresh perspective and amplify understanding of the technology. 

Q: What are Paxful’s plans for India and how big will the presence be in the country?
Currently, India is within Paxful’s top five countries by volume. We have a strong user base in India and there’s still huge untapped potential. We look forward to delivering to both our new and existing users in the country. 

Q: Investors looking for safe investments put their money in cryptocurrency? And if yes, which ones are the safer bets? Are there any safe crypto coins?
With every investment, there comes an inherent risk factor, whether you invest in mutual funds, stocks, or cryptocurrency. There’s value in diversifying investment portfolios to mitigate this risk. Greater the volatility, the more the chances of earning a higher return investment. Volatility doesn’t make any asset class ignorable. 

Q: Can some random tweets from Elon Musk set such a flutter in cryptocurrency markets or are there other factors at play?
The industry is still coming into its own. What’s important to focus on is that when there is a great correction (a decline of 10% or more in the price of a security, asset, or a financial market), many investors are encouraged to buy. The market has matured in this regard and instead of being afraid that the price will continue to fall, people take the opportunity to invest. That is why the dip had a floor, sales always support the price.

Q: Should investors Buy The Dip or is this more of a long term strategy once money is put in cryptocurrencies? What is the best time to invest in crypto?
Cryptocurrency has a variety of uses beyond speculation, from wealth preservation to remittance, payments and social good. Before someone invests in cryptocurrency such as bitcoin, it’s important to determine what the need is for. Once they determine that, they can employ either a long-term or short-term approach to their investment. For either route, one strategy to consider is dollar-cost averaging (DCA), a strategy where the investor divides up the total investment and spreads it across different assets in an effort to reduce the impact of volatility. 

Q: How much money should one lock with cryptocurrencies?
The main mantra of investing is that people should invest as per their capability. Only invest what you are comfortable risking. 

Q: What Are NFTs and how do they tie in with cryptocurrencies? How are NFT valuations so high?
At a very high-level, a non-fungible token (NFT) is a digital asset verified using blockchain technology—a distributed ledger technology that certifies records and transactions without the use of a central database. Valuations are high because NFTs are generally one of a kind and have unique identifying codes. This has contributed to its recent boom in popularity. NFTs are used as a means to buy and sell digital artwork, frequently with cryptocurrency, including images, songs, videos, and GIFs. As an example, Beeple, a digital artist, sold a NFT of his work titled “Everydays: the First 5000 Days” for $69 million earlier this year at Christie’s, the British auction house.

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