Billionaire investor and possible bigtime-Bitcoin holder Tim Draper seems to have his sights set on the industry in what could become the industry’s promised land: India.
On Saturday, March 21st, Draper tweeted out an Inc42 piece in which he declared that he had met with “several Bitcoin and crypto startups” during a recent trip to India, and that he “hope[s] to be able to fund a number of them.”
Draper also wrote that the fact that “crypto is [now] legal” in the country could spell “a renaissance for India.”
Draper’s words refer specifically to the Indian Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn a ban that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) placed on banks in the country to prevent them from having working relationships with cryptocurrency platforms. Although some quick-thinking crypto platforms found ways to survive, the ban effectively crippled the industry.
“The best ideas ultimately prevail.”
However, Draper believes that the nascent industry is on its way up: “the Supreme Court of India and the Indian government have shown that the best ideas ultimately prevail,” he said.
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Draper isn’t the only one to have set his sights on India as a possible hotspot for crypto after the ban was lifted. Earlier this month, cryptocurrency exchange Binance put the $50 million into a ‘Blockchain for India’ fund that promises to invest roughly $100,000 in crypto industry startups based in India. The fund was co-launched with WazirX, an Indian cryptocurrency exchange that was acquired by Binance last November.
Additionally, CoinDCX, another Indian cryptocurrency exchange, announced this month that it would be allocating $1.3 million in funding toward increasing crypto awareness, and thereby, adoption of cryptocurrencies throughout India as part of ‘TryCrypto’, a project that seeks to introduce cryptocurrency 50 million people across the country.
However, even before the ban was lifted, foreign crypto companies were finding ways to gain access to India’s crypto market. In October of last year, Bithumb Global announced that it would be opening a regulated crypto exchange in India; in February of this year, crypto trading platform OKEx expanded into India through a partnership with CoinDCX.
Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Huobi announced its intention to launch a peer-to-peer crypto trading platform in India all the way back in July of 2018. US-based cryptocurrency exchange Paxful began working in India last year, running campaigns with Indian media platforms and influencers to build an online community.
The global financial crisis could be beneficial for Bitcoin
Draper also commented that the fact that the ban’s lifting coincides with the global financial crisis brought on by the coronavirus could be beneficial for BTC.
Indeed, he said that the ban was lifted “just in time, because the benefits of Bitcoin and crypto over current systems will become apparent during this crisis.”
Draper further commented that the economic crisis that has been brought down by the coronavirus could bring greater attention to Bitcoin: it “will allow people to recognize that Bitcoin is simply a better way to hold value and spend money than through our current banking system,” he said.
A number of Bitcoin community members believed that BTC could act as a safe haven during a financial crisis like the one brought on by the coronavirus. While this hasn’t proved to be the case so far, many believe that further economic downturn could eventually grant true safe-haven status to Bitcoin.