Banks are half-convinced about crypto transactions: Giottus CEO


India’s crypto exchanges have been seeing investor interest rise after the government unveiled plans to impose a 30 per cent tax on the transfer of digital assets in its annual budget.

In a wide-ranging interview, Vikram Subburaj, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Giottus Cryptocurrency Exchange, told DH’s Veena Mani what he thought about the evolution of cryptocurrency in India, the crypto bill and the attitude of banks towards crypto transactions. Edited excerpts.

How do you view the taxation on cryptocurrency? 

We are happy because of the direction. Earlier, their communication and the vibes we got were worrying. This is the first in many parliament sessions where they have not said that cryptocurrency will be banned. However, 30 per cent taxation is high. It will affect smaller traders. Having said that, due to this tax increase, if a person has to move out of this asset, the other asset he is targeting should be performing better than cryptocurrency. Looking at the long term, I do not see investors going out due to taxation. The next major thing is on the issue of TDS. The difficulty is with the implementation of TDS.  At the implementation level, is someone going to get a certificate etc? This comes into effect from July, so we are figuring it out. It is not compulsory for a customer to trade through an Indian exchange. If he is trading through international exchanges directly, his funds do not get logged. So, technically, the Indian investor is at a loss. These implementation level challenges need to be taken care of.

What do you expect from the cryptocurrency bill?

The definition of virtual digital assets has come out partially. I think the definitions will become more specific. From the tax perspective, we have addressed only individual taxation but what about GST? Currently, we are self-regulating but things like KYC are not mandatory. We need deeper recommendations. We expect guidelines on these aspects. 

Do you have plans to raise funds? Are you seeing any interest from PE, VCs?

In a month or so, we will be looking to raise funds. The amount of interest and growth there is in fintech, it is similar. The time is lucrative for the VCs to enter. But regulations have been keeping them away. But now, going forward, we will see more Indian firms getting into crypto funding if regulations come in.

How are you evolving as an exchange? 

An investor who gets into crypto wants to know where and what to do. They want products that will help them decide where to invest. We are moving towards giving the customer what they want. We have to be more than just a platform that will help buy and sell. We are slowly getting into value addition for our customers. We have also come up with an SIP. This will help traders tackle volatility. The crypto market is volatile even within the day. Our SIP can work on an hourly, daily, weekly basis also. Crypto traders will enjoy this if they want to average it out. The market is at an influx point. Awareness is at the highest and people want to have crypto as a small portion of the portfolio. 

Are banks warming up to crypto transactions?

We are dependent on wallets and payment gateways. Banks are half-convinced. I don’t see any bank that has converted quickly. They are still contemplating with their compliance teams but we still do not have full support.

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