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Are crypto ads next battleground for Indian regulators

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After days of panic selling in India due to rumors of a crypto ban, WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty has been pushing investors to learn more about the crypto industry, while urging Indian regulators to look at crypto use cases apart from payments.

Appearing on the Mojo Story show, Shetty reiterated these points, but also spoke about the ethical tangle of releasing crypto advertisements in India.

When things don’t ‘ad’ up

As crypto took off in India with millions of users signing up with exchanges, many companies naturally felt the need to advertise their services to draw in more users. However, this strategy led to backlash from lawmakers.

For his part, Shetty said,

“…I think we stopped our ads way back in April or May. Because we ran an experiment and we realized that those 30-40 seconds of ads is really not enough to educate people about crypto. And we’ve always tried to be more on the education part rather than just the advertisement part. So we stopped it. But as an industry, unfortunately, I don’t think it was an industry wide decision.”

Even so, he added,

“What we’ve done now as an industry is gotten together and said, ‘let’s not run any of these ads on TV – for now. Let’s first figure out the right approach.'”

Being left on read [or red]

While exploring the possibility of diverse crypto bans, Shetty explained that he would be fine with regulation that banned crypto as a payment method in India, as long as other uses cases weren’t restricted. He said,

“In fact, even today in the lack of regulatory clarity, if you look at the crypto ecosystem in India, hardly anyone is using it for payments. And the question is why? And I’ll tell you why. Because India happens to be one of those few nations, which has an amazing UPI [Unified Payments Interface] payments rail, which is one: 24 by 7. The second [point]: it is free.”

If you can’t convince them…

The Indian Parliament’s winter session has launched, and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reportedly said that a fresh crypto regulation bill would come to the Parliament after the Cabinet issues its approval.

Sitharaman also took note of the issue of crypto ads, and remarked,

“No decision was taken on banning its advertisements. However, steps are taken to create awareness through RBI [Reserve Bank of India] and SEBI [Securities and Exchange Board of India].”

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Sahana is a full-time journalist at AMBCrypto. She has a Masters in Journalism and her areas of study include crypto-regulation, digital society, privacy, and intersectionality. Ask her about film photography and philately.

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