Infosys Chairman Advocates Regulation of Crypto Assets as Commodities in India

By Kevin Helms

Infosys Chairman Advocates Regulation of Crypto Assets as Commodities in India

The chairman of major Indian company Infosys says that crypto should be regulated as an asset, like a commodity. He believes that crypto investors will significantly contribute to India’s economy.

Infosys Chairman Wants Crypto Regulated as an Asset

Infosys Chairman Nandan Nilekani says the Indian government should regulate crypto as an asset that can be bought or sold, like a commodity, according to an interview with the Financial Times. He explained:

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

Established in 1981, Infosys is a NYSE-listed Indian multinational information technology and consulting company with about 25,000 employees. The company has a presence in over 50 countries. Nilekani has long worked with Indian authorities to help craft digital policies, including the Aadhaar biometric identity program. He also chaired a central bank committee on digital payments in 2019.

Nilekani believes cryptocurrencies are not suitable as a means of payment because they are too volatile and energy-intensive. In addition, he thinks that India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) digital payments infrastructure is more effective.

The chairman explained that cryptocurrency investors would “put their wealth into India’s economy” if they are allowed to tap into the $1.5 trillion cryptocurrency market.

The Indian government is still working on the country’s crypto policies. There is a cryptocurrency bill that was supposed to be introduced in the Budget session of parliament but it was not. This bill proposes banning cryptocurrencies. However, there are reports that the government is reevaluating the bill and is setting up a panel of experts to come up with new recommendations.

Last week, India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), clarified its position on cryptocurrency. The RBI informed banks that its April 2018 circular, which banned financial institutions from providing services to cryptocurrency businesses and traders, is no longer valid and should not be cited or quoted. Shaktikanta Das also confirmed that the bank’s position has not changed and it still has “major concerns” regarding cryptocurrencies.

Infosys has adopted blockchain technology, offering “a comprehensive suite of end-to-end blockchain services from advisory, implementation, change management, to operationalization and application maintenance,” its website describes.

Nilekani opined:

I think, frankly, the opportunities today are better than ever before. In the 40 years I’ve been in this industry, I’ve never seen so much change and acceleration happening.

The Infosys chairman is not alone in thinking that crypto should be regulated as an asset in India. Last month, former Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, who headed the committee that drafted the bill to ban cryptocurrencies, said that the government should regulate them as crypto assets instead of banning them. He explained that when the bill was drafted, crypto was more widely used as a currency rather than an asset but that has changed. Now, crypto is being used as an asset and an investment vehicle in India mich more than a currency.

Do you think the Indian government should regulate crypto as a commodity? Let us know in the comments section below.