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Source: Сointеlеgrаph

Even though the Indian market is considered to be one of the most active cryptocurrency users among emerging markets, the majority of the Indian market is not yet using non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

In an interview with , Totality Corp founder and CEO Anshul Rustaji explained that social and cultural barriers, as well as anti-crypto regulations, are holding back the massive adoption of NFTs, especially in some of the lowest-tier cities in the country.

With a population of 1.38 billion, India is the second most populous country in the world after China. Last month, the United Nations predicted that the country would overtake its rival sometime in 2023.

However, Rustaji explained that trading cryptocurrencies and collecting NFTs is seen as a speculative investment, a concept that is frowned upon in Indian culture and is in the same boat as gambling.

“India loves and hates speculation very much. So all of Asia, including India, loves speculation. But morally, we like to always talk bad about it,” he said.

Rustaji explained that even his time as a hedge fund manager in London was considered by his own mother at the time to be “essentially gambling with other people’s money”.

“With the NFT, the only way to make money was speculation. […] Our society has not yet embraced digital goods.”

Although studies have shown that most NFTs are bought due to their speculative nature, some collections can be seen as a “signal” of wealth and status, such as the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection, which boasts a long list of celebrities. and crypto heavyweights like hodlers.

However, Rustaji says the concept has not been widely adopted in India despite the strong emphasis on “social status” in Indian society.

“In India, social status is of great importance, the biggest expense in India is marriage. On average, 34% of your living expenses come from the marriage of your children. But the fact is that this is such a social event, you want to demonstrate your best qualities to the world. So social status is important.”

Rustaji says the speculative nature of NFTs prevents them from reaching the same level of social “signaling” as luxury cars or Rolex watches, but notes:

“So I think the time will come in India for NFTs to be a great signal. I don’t think it has come yet, but it will come.”

At the end of 2021, Totality Corp launched its first “Lakshmi NFT” inspired by the Goddess of Wealth and Fortune. Rustaji said it was “by far” the biggest NFT drop in India, bringing in a total of $561,000 from a collection of 5,555 NFTs.

Rustaji said the drop was successful as it touted USD Coin (USDC) staking rewards as an incentive to hold NFTs, making it a “guaranteed income” rather than “speculation.”

Related: Indian government’s ‘blockchain not crypto’ stance highlights lack of understanding

Overall, however, Rustaji believes that cryptocurrency adoption in India will remain a challenge as long as there is regulatory uncertainty.

The Government of India has been taking a tough anti-crypto stance since 2013. Earlier this year, the government proposed and enacted two cryptocurrency tax laws, which resulted in trading volumes plummeting and many cryptocurrency unicorns leaving the country.

“The Indian government definitely doesn’t want crypto anymore. […] The government says outright that we don’t like blockchain and cryptocurrencies. But it’s kind of ridiculous.”

Source: Сointеlеgrаph

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