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India is now home to an estimated 115 million cryptocurrency investors despite a historically negative attitude towards the sector from the government, according to new data.
The latest gauge on the number of users in India comes from cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin, which released the findings of its ‘Into The Cryptoverse India Report’ survey on Aug. 23. The estimated 115 million crypto users represent around 15% of the Indian population aged between 18 and 60.
A key highlight was the 33% of survey takers concerned by ambiguous government regulations that could deter potential investors. Security concerns were also evident, with 26% worried about hacks and exploits while 23% were concerned about losing funds in the event of a security incident.
The report is based on a sample of 2042 Indian adults aged between 18 and 60 who were polled between October 2021 and June 2022. 1541 respondents identified themselves as cryptocurrency investors who either own crypto or have traded over the past six months and intend to continue doing so.
Barriers to continued adoption and onboarding of new users are wide-ranging with education, regulatory and security considerations chief concerns for citizens in the country. 41% of respondents admitted not being sure what type of cryptocurrencies to invest in, while 37% found it difficult to manage the risk of portfolios. A further 21% of respondents had little knowledge of how cryptocurrencies work.
Related: India needs global collaboration to decide on crypto's future, says finance minister
A growing section of India’s cryptocurrency users is younger than 30, with 39% of investors aged between 18 and 30 identified in the first quarter of 2022. Investing for the future also emerged as a prominent theme, with 54% of respondents seeing the potential for cryptocurrencies to provide a higher return on investment than conventional assets.
Cointelegraph reached out to KuCoin CEO Jonny Lyu to unpack the findings of their India report, who admitted that the number of crypto users in the country was a ‘confirmation of expectations.' Given that India is the most populous country in the world with a rapidly developing middle class that is tech savvy, Lyu expected to see a proportionally strong layer of investors engaged in cryptocurrencies:
“Despite the government’s stance affecting local crypto market sentiment, people still continue exhibiting interest in new means of value accumulation and accrual.”
Lyu also noted that regulatory concerns were not the be-all and end-all of the future adoption of cryptocurrencies in the country, suggesting that it was just one factor affecting the rate of new users in the space.
The KuCoin CEO also suggested that India’s vast population merely needs to be informed about the potential use cases of cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology in order for mass adoption to take place:
“The problem is the lack of overall awareness about the potential of cryptocurrencies. The situation may change as more Indians become aware of cryptocurrencies and sufficiently strong projects are introduced that can inject them into mass usage with accompanying informational support.”
KuCoin's India report paints a positive picture of the growth of cryptocurrency adoption in India, but the apparent disparity of its government's stance towards the sector continues to be a hindrance. A 30% tax on unrealized crypto gains was instituted in April 2022, which met widespread criticism, while users are also subjected to a 1% tax per transaction.
The effect of this new law was felt with data from exchanges in India showing a massive slump in transaction volumes in the wake of the tax laws enforced on cryptocurrency trading.