Homegrown payments firm PayTM may offer crypto-based services if the Indian government legalizes these assets. “Bitcoin is still in a regulatory grey area if not a regulatory ban in India. At the moment Paytm does not do bitcoin. If it was ever to become fully legal in the country, then clearly there could be offerings we could launch,” Madhur Deora, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of PayTM, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.
The IPO-bound firm has kept its distance from the crypto space so far. In fact, the company stopped providing services to top crypto exchanges in the country in August this year, following an informal note from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to banks. PayTM’s move came after other major banks, including ICICI Bank and Yes Bank, shut down the bank accounts of these exchanges almost overnight, forcing them to temporarily stop accepting payments from Indian users.
However, PayTM is enroute to launching its initial public offering (IPO) on November 8, which is expected to take its valuation to $20 billion. IPO’d companies haven’t taken the crypto route in India so far.
But PayTM isn’t the only large Indian startup to have considered the space. In an interview with Techcircle in October, adtech firm InMobi’s social media platform Roposo said it has also been watching the space and may do something with crypto in future.
The Indian crypto industry has been growing substantially over the past year. According to an October report from comparison platform BrokerChooser.com, the country has the highest number of crypto owners in the world. The platform said that India had 10.7 crore crypto owners, as of October this year.
The country has also seen at least two unicorns in the crypto industry recently. Crypto exchanges Coinswitch Kuber and CoinDCX hit billion dollar valuations in October and August, respectively.