Indian entrepreneur and the CEO of crypto exchange WazirX Nischal Shetty envisions a race between countries to launch their local versions of central bank digital currencies (CBDC) in the coming year. 

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Shetty said that the year 2022 would be an extension of the ongoing discussions around crypto regulations, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and the emergence of the metaverse:

“We’re optimistic that we’ll get regulatory clarity, see institutional participation fuel retail adoption. We also expect to see more metaverse projects making an entrance.”

Shetty pointed out that the crypto industry today — directly or indirectly — employs about 50,000 people in India, which according to NASSCOM research, is expected to grow 2X faster with the potential to create over 800,000 jobs by 2030.

Acknowledging the delays in crypto regulations across the globe, Shetty told The Economic Times that an overnight regulation might harm the progress of the ecosystem and leave open loopholes for bad actors:

“There is a $2.5 trillion market out there and it is not going to wait for any nation to come on board. I’ve been tweeting ‘#IndiaWantsCrypto’ for over 1,000 days with the sole objective of having crypto regulation in India.”

Discussions around crypto were prevalent in India this year as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman cited the need for crypto regulations. In addition, the winter season of the Indian Parliament introduced a crypto bill that sought a ban on ‘private’ cryptocurrencies. 

“The question for every nation is ‘do they want to participate and get a share of this pie?’,” asked Shetty. He also predicted that global participation in crypto would go from 150 million to 400 million people if the coming year follows a similar growth trajectory of 2021.

Shetty highlighted that the nonfungible token (NFT) buying spree might slow down in 2022 as investors attempt reselling through secondary markets, adding:

“Web3 will open the gates to innovation and more startups in India. Along with the rise in NFTs, it will play a huge role in promoting the creator economy of India.”

Crypto exchange WazirX led numerous marketing efforts to educate Indian investors about cryptocurrencies and launch transparency reports and policies to add credibility to the ecosystem. Shetty believes that spreading the right information and busting misinformation will expedite crypto adoption in India, concluding:

“Cointelegraph is doing a phenomenal job at spreading education and awareness around crypto among the masses. I wish all the readers a very happy, crypto-full new year ahead!”

Related: India to regulate, not ban, crypto: Cabinet documents

Local reports from early December suggested that the Indian government would regulate the crypto sector instead of imposing an outright ban.

According to Indian news outlet NDTV, a cabinet note regarding the proposed crypto bill contained suggestions to regulate cryptocurrencies as crypto assets, with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) overseeing the regulation of local crypto exchanges.

However, NDTV reported Sunil Prabhu said that the government of India will not consider mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies as legal tender:

“[Cryptocurrency] as a legal tender will not be accepted. That is a clear no. I think that that is what even the prime minister in his deliberations at that meeting made absolutely clear to ensure that does not take place.”