Indian Billionaire Nandan Nilekani Supports Crypto Amid Ban Rumors


The co-founder of major Indian tech company Infosys, Nandan Nilekani, has urged the government to help micro-businesses access capital using Bitcoin.

March 23, 2021 | AtoZ Markets The prominent businessman and adviser to the Indian government, Nandan Nilekani, has spoken in support of digital currencies because, reportedly, the government is considering banning private cryptocurrencies.

Nilekani supports the freedom to use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in India

Nilekani joined a Clubhouse session with investor Balaji Srinivasan to discuss the state of cryptocurrencies in India ,  local news publication Moneycontrol reported on Monday.

Nilekani is a co-founder of the leading Indian technology company Infosys and the founding architect of the national biometric identification system, Aadhaar. He is also the chairman of a special Indian committee evaluating digital payments in India and an advisor to various government agencies and the Reserve Bank of India.

During the session, Nilekani defended the freedom to use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in the country, arguing that Indians should be allowed to have crypto as an asset class. The billionaire businessman reportedly pointed to the use of cryptocurrencies as a store of value, highlighting their promising potential:

We should think of cryptocurrencies as an asset class and allow people to have some cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies as a means of transaction will not work as fast as UPI, which is targeting 1 billion transactions per day. But cryptocurrencies have enormous capital.”

Nilekani said that Indian regulators should help the country’s micro, small and medium-sized enterprises access capital through cryptocurrencies.

Regarding stablecoins and the digital rupee, he said:

 I’m not sure we need a private stablecoin or if a digital rupee will be good enough. We need to see how it will help Indians, how MSMEs can access capital using bitcoins. No amount of technology is going to influence anyone’s opinion.”

Nilekani’s comments come amid growing uncertainty and doubt in India regarding the legal status of cryptocurrencies. Anonymous sources purporting to represent Indian government officials have been  spreading reports of an upcoming cryptocurrency ban since early 2021.

However, India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has stated several times that the ministry does not plan to ban Indians from using Bitcoin.

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