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Darshan Bhatija (BankOfHodlers), Hemanth Kumar (Unocoin), Sharan Nair (CoinSwitch), Prashanth Bala (LastBit), Gaurav Dhahke (BitBns), Kumar Gaurav (Cashaa), Raghu Mohan (IBC Media)
[00:00:00] Raghu Mohan: All alright guys. Thank you so much for having this, BTC media and the Bitcoin magazine. hello from India. I think, the representation here. Is essentially a lot of people who are actually working on Bitcoin and the kind of related technologies, I will go around the room, for, quickly to just get everybody's introductions in, but essentially, you will find a new bank founders exchange founders in crypto payment, gateway founders who are all doing some cutting edge work out of India.
And, we could get into the, the agenda. Panel discussion here is to give the audience an idea about the retail and the financial institution, environment, and India towards BTC, the startup and investor perspective towards Bitcoin and crypto companies and the developer ecosystem, which India is so famous for at the moment.
so without further ado, let me introduce to you. Prashanth Bala
Prashanth why don't you give us a quick intro to who you are and what you do, and how did BTC start for you?
Prashanth Bala: All right. Thanks for that. Thanks for the small introduction. So, Hey guys, my name is [00:01:00] Prashanth. I'm the founder and CEO of company called Lastbit, and we're building a lightning-based end to end payment stack.
That's basically meant to get as many people onto Bitcoin lightning as possible and existing Bitcoin users to basically start trying to use crypto as a currency or using Bitcoin to do things in the real world by means of virtual debit cards. So, my journey started quite a while back. I t was around 2015 or 16 when I was completing my bachelor's thesis and, had had the nice, I had the great opportunity to move to Europe.
And one of the hardest things in my life was basically trying to move funds from, from my Indian bank to the European bank, as a student. And, I've had the chance to travel around Europe. And during this time, even though I was an early adopter of Bitcoin, I could really do nothing with it. So this is a problem that I was really, really fond of solving and being able to actually work with some blockchain startup during that time that made me want to take the extreme step.
Raghu Mohan: Nice. So is that around, about when BTC started for you as well? Was that your first exposure to Bitcoin or were you already acquainted with it?
Prashanth Bala: Yeah, pretty much. So it's actually a funny story. So I was in [00:02:00] as taking out grad school options and I had a chance to take, so I didn't end up going to grad school in Zurich.
And so I went, I flew to Zurich to basically see what it's going to be like. And I ran into this blockchain startup at the time. So they were just pitching at that random entrepreneur event. And, so I ended up working for them for a while. And since they were like in the crypto Valley, building a crypto payments product at the time, I had firsthand exposure to work on that technology itself.
And that's when like, After I made my first bitcoin transaction per se, it was like not looking back.
Raghu Mohan: Nice. Nice. I love your t-shirt by the way,
Darshan my friend, give us a quick introduction to who you are, what you do and how did the Bitcoin journey start for you?
Darshan Bhatija: Great. so I'm Darshan, founder and CEO of bank of Hodlers. Are we started off as a platform where users can borrow and lend well with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as well?
we started off the Bitcoin in the tedium and we've continued to go down the market cap, Adobe intend to curtail the credit product to the top, top 10 tokens. I started off joining a [00:03:00] fund in Mumbai in India. Yeah, Do asset back credit, for real estate. and I, and I got a firsthand experience.
How banking was broken. It was engineered to favor the top 1% at the cost of the 99%. I knew I didn't want any part of that finance world. I was a 22-year-old an idealist at the time. I moved out of, Mumbai, worked in a startup for a while. And then that's when I stumbled across the Bitcoin white paper, it felt like a genuine zero to one.
And I saw how it would automatically fit in and replace everything we know while delivering the user experience that we've come to expect. so this was late 2016. I bought my first Bitcoin then, and I noticed there was a huge gap between. What was promised and real-world implementation, especially in India, which is why we ended up... [00:04:00]
Raghu Mohan: for anyone who's interested, do check out bank of Hodlers, the next person that I want to introduce you to, you know, Kumar, I think you've been around the Indian crypto ecosystem and as well as a lot of the conferences and the, well, since like 2017, late 2016, even. so, you know, why don't you give us an introduction for, you know, how your journey started in this space and what you're doing with Cashaa?
Kumar Gaurav: so hello everyone. Thank you too, for having and have specially thanks to Bitcoin magazine, to creating a dedicated panel for the Indian community, especially after, because we have open market here, we had a great win here, so let's, cheers for that. thanks. yeah, so my journey in Bitcoin started in 2013.
I was in Italy. during those days I was working for Ferrarj, building navigation system. we ha I get in touch with a few people who were [00:05:00] holding Bitcoins. No wonder why they owned fragments at that time. I know that's about shows that progress the entire progressive. Imagine by any, would they try to explain me, but because I was working for an organization, which was maybe heavily, I know trying to centralize system and, no, it does not promote anything which, which they don't understand.
So I did have a conflicting idea. I also thought it. Maybe a scam. One just came up, bought every word. So all those narrative, which is not there anymore. But then in 2014, I quit Ferrari and I, again, I get uncomfortable because someone approached me to build a Bitcoin ATM. any Italian company, I was talking to working on that project, but because it was more technical project, I had to go through the, bitcoin white paper and that's where my enlightenment with bitcoin happened.
I delivered that project. Now it's part of, one of the biggest, ATM group in the world. the same [00:06:00] technology. then in 2015, I started into a project. No, that shouldn't just, Prashanth just mentioned that how difficult it was to move money around the world. And that was the entire, because I was going to different conferences is 2015 and I was hearing the smarter Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies can change the world.
And every time I heard this narrative this, I, I used to imagine that last mile people on the street, people like us, everyone like the regular people that how exactly it is helping. And I couldn't find answer for that. So I started a peer to peer cash transfer company because those days Bitcoin narrative was really against the money movement companies like charging that you can move money with Bitcoin, millions of dollars.
And I think you can cross border. I met Andreas as those days. Yeah. And he was talking about that, how, [00:07:00] Nope, you can move money around. So, Andreas, speeches, feel, I know motivated me a lot in 2015. so I was talking to a company called BTC to bid and it was only doing, it was matching Bitcoiners interested to sell Bitcoin across the globe.
And if the end result was that it was used to move cash transfer from one country to another. So for example, if someone wants to buy Bitcoin in India, because in 2015, you had a great premium of people miss most premium, but you had like 8%, 10%, 12% premium. And the problem in Indian space and especially got over, I think
the new, how much. It's a struggle. They have to receive a Bitcoin in India. It was very difficult to have them good to serve their customers. And that's what we started doing. So, so if someone wants to sell Bitcoin in London, if someone wanted to buy bitcoin in India, we [00:08:00] used to match them. And this entire system was powered by the people, the last mile, people who want to send them money from London to India.
And we moved around 20 million pounds in few days, few huge, I think, few weeks to few months. And that's where the D when the demonetization happens, it hits in India. In 2017, that business was completely gone because there was no cash left in the country. Well, people do have a standing by ATM lines to get cash in, and there was no cash.
So obviously that. And that's where we decided to move to Cashaa because by the 2017, the problem in the industry was not anymore having liquidity problem, but the banking became the biggest problem. The biggest of the Bitcoin companies, they didn't have a bank account it's still today. I think 90% of the exchanges that don't have fiat they don't have bank accounts.
If you are involved in Bitcoin across any part of the world, you’re journey to get a bank account becomes extremely difficult and [00:09:00] that's where we started Cashaa to start solving this problem.
Raghu Mohan: That's a serious problem to solve, but, thank you for that, context of how you got here. you did mention Sathvik briefly.
We have someone who worked with him very,
very closely through good times and bad, Hemanth
Hemanth Kumar: Hemanth and
Sharan actually, not just me.
Raghu Mohan: I was going to get to that, but let's start with Hemanth first.
Hemanth Kumar: Hi everyone, this is Hemanth.
Raghu Mohan: This is just for context, Sathvik who Kumar mentioned is the founder of Unocoin. Hemanth kind of give you context as to how he's related. Yeah, sure.
Hemanth Kumar: Thanks Ragu. I go, yeah, this is Hamanth CEO and cofounder of Pontis. We want to bring a defi for everyone. So we want to bridge the centralized exchanges and the different protocols and act like a bridge so that the exchanges can offer different capabilities to their customers. Basically a defi as a service, we are a video listed startup and we are just starting off.
And my encounter with Bitcoin, I think probably back [00:10:00] in 2013, I think I was flabbergasted. when, when I saw a friend of mine who actually used the card, looked like, which looked like a credit card and use it in a coffee shop, but it was not issued by any bank. And then he explained me how this works and it was not, I think it was also a friend of Sathvik, not Sathvik himself.
but yeah, I was like, wow, this is something completely new. And I started reading a bit more about it, and that was in 2013. And in 2016, I was part of Unocoin in a very big way. I was a CIO there and my journey started in 2016 and went on till 2019 until I decided to pursue this idea now pursuing. and yeah, if you ask me what.
made me, but sure. This, I think the idea represented, I think that most of us are likely the, kind of what Bitcoin or the word crypto represents in general, the freedom at multiple levels. so that's what I'm here for.
Raghu Mohan: Nice. Nice. Hemanth. so another unocoin [00:11:00] album, Sharan, who's also doing someone who's also a mover and shaker in the Indian crypto space, Sharan, quick introduction.
How did BTC start for you and, what you do, right.
Sharan Nair: Yeah. So, first of all, thank you for having me on the panel. Currently I have business for two companies. One is CoinSwitch and other is CRUXPay. Coinswitch is a cryptocurrency exchange aggregator. We aggregate some of the largest global exchanges and users can come and buy.
Over a hundred plus currencies to us without having to create an account in any of these exchanges. The other company that I work for is called CruxPay, which is also run by the same team that runs coin switch. We basically are a decentralized blockchain naming service, pretty much like a naming service and payment protocols.
And. If I have to really talk about how I got into cryptocurrencies, to be very honest, even on day one of my job, I did not understand what the white paper was all about. [00:12:00] And I don't have an enlightenment moment or a moment like that, where, you know, I would, I was like, okay, this is what I have to be. To be very honest.
I started in crypto back in 2014, straight out of college for a company combined seeing something interesting. I just joined him. Well, when I joined him, I really didn't understand what I was getting into. Right. But when I did get into it and I tried reading the white paper, trust me, I didn't understand anything.
But what I did understand eventually was that I was, I started reading a lot about it. I started understanding how people are different countries, where, where the economic is not stable, where the government isn't, how we have it in most parts of the world, how they were. Using cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, specifically as a savior to kind of do not devalue their existing wealth.
And that kind of gives me a human attachment to a cryptocurrency is like some sort of a way for people it's like, it's like an insurance. Do you see if any point of time something goes wrong? [00:13:00] If it's a compound that you play to get out of the system. Right. So for me, that was my introduction to cryptocurrencies started all the way back in 2014.
Raghu Mohan: Got it. Got it. And finally Guarav if you could, give us a brief intro about what you've been doing with, you know, Bitbns and how, you know, we can, then we can get into the serious set of questions as well.
Gaurav Dhanke: unintelligible] It's a journey for me, started in 2001 finally, out of college. We all were kind of already are involved in everything and, and also, to make some money for points. So that's sort of, and at that point in time, [unintelligible]
and then started a mining on there. and after [00:14:00] that, the [unintelligible]
and then my second game about, going up. I, so one of my juniors was starting an extreme for climbing. She assigned to me. I don't know why anybody signed up on planning. I love the experience and then trying to sign up on a few other exchanges and like CYC looks by me for like the 45 days and the same as Lacey. I mean, so we ended up with something around
Which would automate transactions or even the adult would be automated. But at that point in time, Indian exchanges only had big point somewhere, Apple, let us see if someone only has an app.
[00:15:00] so that's similar to
pylon and, the sun, but Vienna. So being fined by the predominantly white has been the focus. Since then have been apparently most of what some of the industry have seen, and now things are being followed up for the last couple of months and we'll call it.
Raghu Mohan: Yeah. So with that, I thought, I think now the context is late for all the panelists here, where they come from and what they stand for with respect to BTC in India. So my first question is towards the retail and the institutional side of things. and this is specifically aimed at the exchanges, guys and people who worked at exchanges before others feel free to chip in as well.
But. Essentially, what are, who are the kind of users are coming to Bitcoin right now in India and, [00:16:00] you know, what is it, what are the, what are the things that are driving them towards. But chasing a Bitcoin or holding it or things like that. So just to, because you guys are probably the gateway to, for most of the people who kind of come into the space and it would be good to understand who, what these personas are that is driving people towards a BTC and how do they use it?
Is it predominantly for trading? Is it for holding? They look at it as an, as a store of value. They look at it as a. Way to increase wealth as an instrument of trading, that these sort of perspectives will be useful. so Hamanth, we'll start with you. And then we moved to Sharan, Sharan, and Gaurav, and we're kind of currently kind of, running an exchange at the moment.
So Hemanth for you, this was what, 2013, 2015, right up to 2016. what were the kind of people coming into BTC? At least on Unocoin.
Hemanth Kumar: What I can say is I think, there is a wide spectrum of demographics, right? I have seen as people who are like a teenagers, as long as they can produce a legal document for KYC till [00:17:00] the age of, you know, probably 66, 65, plus we have seen all kinds of customers, right.
And there is absolutely no age restriction. If you look at the mindset with which they come to. Yeah to do the exchanges, especially like exchanges is basically, so there are two things widely. I might be wrong here and it's not a generic, sweeping statement. But what I have observed is a, there are quite a lot of people who hold, just hold in the, in the, in the, in the long run of, you know, this will appreciate a hundred times, 200 times or 50 times, whatever it is.
And I want to hold, just hold it. And there is a small percentage, relatively small percentage of people who trade lot. And that traits so much that they actually, the volume supersede the amount of the volumes of the huddle holders themselves. So you can see the diametrically opposite kind of demographics in terms of how they see this entire trading versus holding kind of a scenario.
And that's, that was true with unocoin. And, and there are people who also have seen a lot of people [00:18:00] who also spend Bitcoin for the daily stuff. The Bay bills to be, to, to pay bills. And also, I mean, as simple as paying your gas, bill paying the electricity bill and certain people are quite opposite to that, and it might look stupid for them because why are you using your Bitcoin to pay bills?
Right? So there are like a varied set of people with various options, but that's how it stands. And demographics is a very, very mixed demographic and you'll find all kinds of people in the entire spectrum.
Raghu Mohan: But if you were to talk about majority's, right, like, so would you say majority Hodlers and majority young millennial teenagers, these are the, I mean, late teenagers and early, early twenties kind of guys.
Would you say that that's a fair representation?
Hemanth Kumar: I think it's a fair representation. A Hodlers is what you see in that age group, for trading. I think you need a little bit more of an insight, learn a little bit of more of a research. And for that, I think probably a 20 late twenties, late thirties would be the right demographic.
At least that's the kind of analytics that we [00:19:00] had in Unocoin. We very, very small set of people for trading, but they do a lot of trading. Because they have that insight. And a lot of people, a lot of, lot of people who hold yeah,
Raghu Mohan: got it. as you're running BitBns even now, and, you know, going by what he's saying about more hodlers than traders and products, like a bit droplet that you've been launching recently, does that still hold true?
and are there any defense as to what Hemanth....
Gaurav Dhanke: [All unintelligible] Yeah, the demographics is, is predominantly made up of the audiences. and, other than that also on Bettina, you see the
itself that's nice. The way I am in the morning, like 2:00 AM. I signed up a person who has 60, 60years a old. He is an , for a little bit more than he got part of it. Someone of that age [00:20:00] group,
usually it's very hard to change the opinion of the group earlier, openly pessimistic in terms of. Bitcoin. And I had a two-hour long call. We'll be asking you for a lot of, I said he is all of that. He kept asking questions and
but that's how it started. I live from the, in Western particle of behavior. I think that sort of demographics, kind of, is that what the white.
and in fact, the people from the whole, you look up never created it.
Raghu Mohan: That's a really interesting point. So you're telling me that the gap between traditional asset traders and BTC traders are actually very uncorrelated.
[ [00:21:00] All
Gaurav Dhanke: Unintelligble]
no. And frankly, a lot of them don't and Laurie, those markets, because one they're independent.
So you need to kind of have it only for five days. . The second is there, aren't a lot of restrictions. So like if you open it or get automatically at the end of the day, your order gets canceled. All those things kind of happened because of all of them will have end up a much larger. between, so what did I let them work out well, and some of the products that we have, like margin creating whether letter B
in the traditional markets are one of them, the margin side of the second
[00:22:00] and the second is on the
we have seen that a lot of them are deans. and , I think there's some lows we'll have some good insights. the have been getting back to Portland, it will be more of a
but, Oh, is typically , enemy context and a passive,
Raghu Mohan: Got it. Those are interesting insights and things like not a lot of change. Sharan, as you are launching an Indian India facing exchange, under the coinswitch, banner, do you see that this is a, do you factor in these insights as you're going, with respect to user group right now, and, you know, also do share some insights [00:23:00] on what the user demographics was in, with respect to what you were running in coins, which the aggregator as well.
Sharan Nair: So if you just look at CoinSwitch, because it's an enormous instant exchange, which is non-custodial. So the kind of user base that we had was pretty matured, right? A bunch of people who knew how to hold the cryptocurrency is a bunch of people who kind of really knew the in and out of what they were doing.
But considering the fact that I've also worked with Unocoin for. Quite some time from 2014, I generally break the investor group, something like pre bull run of 2017 and post bull run. If you look at the kind of investors that came in on the pre bull run of 2017, it was just picking, picking up are ridiculous, to be honest, the.
Because a lot of people did not understand what they were getting into it. Everybody just wanted to make quick money. They were, most people were buying crypto so they could invest in ICOS, not because they were buying bitcoin for it because that's kind of currencies. They were taking to get into ICOs and [00:24:00] stuff like that.
A lot of people were just speculating. Absolutely speculative. Right. And, I was really wondering to be honest because the, if the quality of investors don't go up, then you're already in trouble, but that's not the scene that happened after the bull run. Like the whole, whatever social media bubble collapsed.
Right. The kind of people who came in were more fundamental about what they wanted to do with the cryptocurrency. They kind of had an idea about what they wanted and all of this. Now what, I guess you mentioned we were there time do an exchange. So we did kind of a full research on the user base and kind of people that want to get into.
And I agree with , I have the same opinion as many of these guys from the panel that of, well, we're seeing a young demographic. Right. There are a couple of things here. Why most people, I have a degree in finance as well. Most people do not understand stocks including me. Right. I don't understand what a B, they show you some things like that.
I, I could, I could, for all, you know, investment stock and things that a bank can happen, right. Like right from my [00:25:00] childhood, I've been told banks are the most stable things. You're seeing that. Not to be the case as of now with crypto, I think. The young demographic is coming in because they kind of understand that it's a, it's a lineup for a lot of people can look into it and understand how it is not dependent on the mumbo jumbo of a bunch of people to play around and things like that.
The other thing that I also feel is that we would start seeing a lot of young people coming to, into the crypto part, because now if you look a lot of youngsters who are just starting up the job, the only investment they do stacks it. Right. So all of the money is actually going into yellows is fine.
Right now with the new tax bracket coming, you know, I mean the new taxes you're coming in necessarily to not have to invest into a uniform. A lot of those money might be up and then starting to bring it to bitcoin,
Raghu Mohan: got it, got it. So, clearly, you know, it's a young audience that's coming to, that's coming to, BTC and usually after [00:26:00] post 2017 bull run, it is essentially to.
you know, hold it and more towards the fundamentals of the token fundamentals of the asset, other than, just to speculate a type thing. This is what I want to bring. you know, into, into the discussion. You guys predominantly face with, interface with banks. at the moment and other financial institutions as well, how easy or difficult has it been?
Can kind of walk us through the journey since the RBA ban that happened in India right up to now, like, what are the trials and tribulations that you've faced and what is the situation now for a crypto BTC company, that interfaces with the real world. And, you know, of course the exchanges would have a perspective on this as well, but you to specifically, because, you know, you're far more, you kind of.
brand yourself as a Neo bank, more than a crypto exchange. And, you know, having a perspective on this will be good. so Darshan, if you could start and then you could come into Kumar as well.
Darshan Bhatija: So right
off the bat, most people in the banking ecosystem didn't even know that the Supreme [00:27:00] court verdict overturned the RBI ban.
So a couple of conversations around breaking that level of friction, where they are saying, Hey, isn't this not allowed by the RBI? couple of conversations there.
Two or maybe five weeks and they're still a little more receptive to it. some banks and some fintechs have given us the go ahead for different products that we could potentially integrate a classic example of a really nice product. Even, unocoin of integrated in 2017 was a virtual account product.
that even though the ban was lifted, most exchanges don't have access to that as of today because the banks haven't opened that up or the fintechs haven't opened that up. and again, that's just a very small example. something as simple as opening a bank account, is definitely opened up for us.
And I'm sure that's the case for other exchanges as well, but anything beyond that, has additional levels of, Scrutiny [00:28:00] by their legal team were there. Okay. the, the reception has been a lot more open from other jurisdictions, primarily, the UK, Singapore, and Hong Kong. For that matter, there are a lot easier to correspond with. And as long as you are following the guidelines from the regulatory and the banking standpoint, the very happy to work with you.
So India on the other hand is, the bank ecosystem is not as well informed, but, hopefully that, that shouldn't be the case moving forward. It cause we traditionally have a very, very strong tech stack in India compared to, most jurisdictions.
Raghu Mohan: Right? Well, we will get to the tech side of things in a bit, but Kumar, your thoughts on this.
I think you circumvented the problem through, working in the UK, but, do give us some insight on how it has been working with the Indian institutions and how open they are, in working with companies like you.
Kumar Gaurav: so Raghu the go, I think this question is made mostly not, family, you know, pointed to us, but to the exchanges because the [00:29:00] banks creates more problem, not just opening a bank account in any jurisdiction is very easy, like once.
So for us, if you eat, it's not a problem opening just a bank account. The problem happens once you move after a no, whatever now trace or 11, which they have. So moment, if the exchange is going to UK, Singapore, Europe, anywhere I've just opened a bank account, you, you just get a bank account, but the moment you restart frequency starts going up.
The questions come up and that's only not because of the crypto or because of the general AML and KYC. And I mostly am friendly policies, which banks around the globe. So your business needs to justify why these volumes are coming and whatnot, how this is justified, and then it comes to Bitcoin. Then things started getting more.
Muddy. That's where the banks shut you down. So it's not, I don't see India having any major problem when it comes to this. Obviously, it's a, like currently we in Europe, most [00:30:00] more than 60% Bitcoin companies are currently banking with us. So when it comes to like, we are one of the largest banking group in, in, in Europe and giving back accounts to not almost every second or maybe.
No three out of two companies. So what we have seen when we onboard them that most of the founder does not understand compliance. They don't understand the money laundering policies, and that's makes us really nervous to deal with most of the crypto companies. And obviously we have to do a B me as a company.
I was also a Bitcoin evangelist, obviously I had to promote and push, and that's why we started creating different products, which can help them to understand things compliance. Talking about just about Cashaa like restarted building the banking products even before the, the Supreme court decision was made.
So if you go to some of that, what announcements, when did the announcement during earlier November's? Because it was very clear that, one of the [00:31:00] benefit which we have as, as a company or as a group, is that we have seen these wave cycles, this chicken and egg, and this smell. it's no different to problems where regulators keep coming to crypto companies into UK.
you can have the similar problem in 2014, 15 us had similar problem in 2012, 13, Russia had the same problem. Yep. Huh? I think 16, 15, 16, where they started talking about putting people in jail, if you are dealing in Bitcoins. So I don't see Indian ecosystem is any different than global ecosystem. It's exactly just going with, it's only defense that it's going with its own base.
obviously, it's needs, regulators need to have more and more information. And the more comfortable they become. I think the more friendly they will be as of today; we are now planning also to launch a banking group in India to mostly solve this problem. In fact, we are already working with most of the exchanges in India.
They are already our customers [00:32:00] on them. We are providing them user liquidity. So they'll the last question which you have, like who are the actual users? I do feel that exchanges in India even have 25% of the actual user who are actually holding Bitcoin in India. I think less than 20%. as, as a liquidity provider, we provide every day, at least 600 to 1000 between an Indian market.
And if you combine the volume of all the changes in India, that barely goes to 200 on its 24-hour volume, some liquidity, it's not just the supply. So you see that's a taxable. So if the only one to blame and the no grow mode, they have to now go out and break some of the very stereotype, data, which they, I think they hold it that only young people being in Bitcoins.
I think for India, that's not true. Most of the Bitcoin is actually doing in India between the age group of 45 to 50 [00:33:00] years, not before 35-year-old, because India is mostly the young generation. The young population in India is actually working in an IT infrastructure. a lot of new way services. And, I'm the money.
So one of the things is that if you see the curve, the Indian, a younger population is now started to get by making money, right? And when you start to make money, you don't go, and you just buy the first thing you do. You go and buy Bitcoin as a human. No, you don't do that. Most of the population doesn't do that.
You go, you you'll get, you'll get a nice girlfriend. You get a nice car. You try to show off let's, let's be practical. That's what the majority of human beings. And now coming to Indian Indians love shore. Right? We are Asians. We like to do that. Okay. We like to show up. Obviously, it's not applicable to everyone.
You have five, 10%, obviously people who understand about future. And I think those are the users who are going to actually need [00:34:00] to these India, military exchanges. But most of the money, if you see in India is not actually held by the age group, which has been noted. The actual money is hold by our parents.
Right. those who have the properties because India in India made a lot of money when it comes to property. Right? Like my father meets more money, more money, like two X, three X, four X, then Bitcoin. In India. So if you really see the child, how the people make money in on lamps, you will feel ashamed that yeah, really Bitcoin makes money.
No one doesn't have to make money for them. And that's why they don't come. And those ones, they are definitely trying to not have a balance. The problem that lenders.
Raghu Mohan: Actually make a lot of sense. you know, the age group that you just spoke about has a lot more disposable income to invest into crypto.
Dan, you know what the exchanges are looking. That's actually a really interesting discussion point.
Darshan Bhatija: I can actually back that up. even the [00:35:00] demographic, even the demographic on our platform, be it from India and even outside. when we look at strictly BTC volumes, it's not even though now you can look at it as total number of users and BTC volumes that they tend to hold, and they tend to move.
Even though they might be a majority number of signups in that age group. they don't really hold the capital. The people who hold the capital are not even 35, like these are 40, maybe between 40 to 47 in that age group, they want to fully KYC and, they're happy living in the capital as long as it makes financial sense for them.
And these aren't people are hold 50, 60 bitcoin minimum.
Kumar Gaurav: Good. Not the problem. Yeah. And the problem level, which you have with these age group in India, obviously in the UK now and in Singapore and the U S obviously these people are little but more tech savvy than Indians. Now, when you come to India, this outroduction mentioned for let's put.
40 to 50 year [00:36:00] old, let's say even 40 to 60, actually, when it comes to India, because the, this, this is a really wealthy group, which you have in India between 40, 45 to 60 a year. The problem with them is that they are not tech savvy. Like for example, my father bought Bitcoin four months ago and the only reason he bought it, because finally my brother said, okay, give me money.
And I'm going to buy for you. So he had a physical point of contact to really get his first Bitcoin. So you see that's what is something which is missing in India right now, because if you really want to get into the Indian market and why they get this number, because I know as we say, we supply roughly 600 to 1000 bitcoin every day in India most of these is actually going to a lot of traders.
and on these traders, I've actually 48 50 and they buy 50, 60, 80, a hundred bitcoin [00:37:00] each day. And I don't know what they do. And I really don't want to know a reason why, because in India, the awareness of Bitcoin is only up to a level that Bitcoin, something which makes money, which is something which has, which had made money for a lot of people around the world.
But that is not something for us. So we have to convert the bitcoin in something else to become how Bitcoin have made money to a lot of people outside India. And it's not their fault because that's the narrative they have been told by the people who are actually personally. And running the actual, bitcoin industry in India.
So I don't know what you want to call them. They are the scammers, or they are what they are, but their story is fantastic. I'm given the awareness is not there. People.
Raghu Mohan: Got it. Got it. I think this is a good time to kind of bring in one more, aspect of Bitcoin. Cause look at the end of the day, this was also a familiar technology movement.
[00:38:00] And, you know, this is where I want to bring PraShanth in. you know, you've, you work pretty closely on the Bitcoin blockchain, and I would presume that. Or, you know, you were also in the market for talent, and you're building a team out of India. one thing that you see is that as soon as you say blockchain engineering, most of them actually speak about, you know, tedium and, other, you know, blockchains that are.
Predominately pop and many private blockchains that are predominantly popular for, from a programming standpoint. How do you see the Bitcoin programming ecosystem in India, the developer ecosystem in India? And why is it not as popular as say other, you know, kind of blockchains that are constantly being there?
They're constantly positioning themselves as interesting things to build the products.
But the, I would say that mostly the, the amount of developer talents available for Bitcoin, it is available. Like we are building a team out of Bangalore and there are some really, really talented folks and people that want to learn the technology. But I just think that. Like Bitcoin's marketing team, which doesn't exist.
It hasn't done the greatest job, honestly. So it's a tough course, more interesting and more lucrative to work for companies that are offering to pay you in their local tokens are basically the build on other technologies as opposed to Bitcoin. So most of the time building on Bitcoin is going to be an open source developer.
That's not going to make it too much money. So especially since we work on the lightning network pretty much day in, day out, that's something that's even more obscured and finding talent is really hard. So that stems from a place of passion and not for like finance again.
Raghu Mohan: Yeah, and that's, that's actually a good, you know, sad to say this, but a developer won't adopt a technology unless they know how to make money out of it.
The majority of it, but the code that's coming to interrupt people like you. And, you know, I commend you for that. and, who could keep the flag, you know, kind of, [00:40:00] flying high for it. So we have a few, we are, we are at the last stage of the state of the. Panel discussion. But what we've learned is to opposing views, the exchange, see young people coming to them, but neo banks such as Darshan and Kumar's Bank of Holders and Cashaa has seen a much later audience coming in with larger, a much older audience that's coming in the larger ticket sizes.
Now, all of this can, you know, come to a stop. Like what happened a couple of years ago with the RBI, you know, ruling, saying that just that the theater program with banks on the crypto companies will go for it. I want to go in this panel with two questions. Primarily, you know, going, going through, you know, anyone who was kind of interfacing with Bitcoin in India, what do you think now that the, you know, RBI has, kind of, been overturned on, on the, on this, just the last one point from each of you, what would you suggest, you know, what would you suggest, what, what would you say does the RBI do to ensure that, we have a thriving Bitcoin [00:41:00] ecosystem in India.
So first, just like one-line answers, Prashanth what would you say?
Prashanth Bala: open up UPI and financial existing financial services for Bitcoin and crypto companies.
Raghu Mohan: .
Kumar, one last point.
Kumar Gaurav: I think RBI is doing a really great job. They are, we are as a Cashaa, we are really talking to them and working with banks. So having a trouble. They can come to a talk to us. the government in India have opened up. I don't think the problem is banking anymore in India.
Raghu Mohan: Got
Sharan Nair: I think like most countries, we should open up a regulatory sandbox environment. so many of the startups could work very closely with the banks and understand what's really allowed and what's not really allowed.
Hemanth Kumar: Yeah, I think I agree with Sharan. I think regulatory will only regulations will only thrive, closest to much further down until that happens.
I think it would be very rather limited in terms of roads a