India Crypto Landscape and Opportunities

Co-Authors : @sriram @aakansha
Reviewers : @Vanita @pujimak_in

INTRODUCTION:

The mindset of retail investors to look at safe and long term investment + mutual fund and ETF markets with an AUM of ₹ 36.74 Lakh Crore($483 B) is a market where Index Coop products have great opportunity for expansion. We as a team would thus like to present to the community the spread and potential of the crypto market in India.

OVERVIEW:

  • Currently 8% of India’s population of 135 Crore are active users with an average age of the investors being 25 years.
  • The government’s regulatory concerns are aimed to be addressed with a new cryptocurrency bill and bring greater clarity. A national CBDC is also in the works.
  • Nasscom reports the crypto industry in India to grow to $241 million by 2030 with heightened awareness in the country.
  • The total VC funding for the Indian space crossed $587 million across 350 startups including Polygon and InstaDapp. Global exchanges too have massive investments in India to capture a piece of the market

INDIAN OPPORTUNITY:


India currently ranks number 2 in the crypto adoption index second only to Vietnam by Chainalysis global report. The retail value and web visits into DeFi platforms however is still in a nascent stage compared to ROW.

  • The stock market as a whole, broadly experienced a surge post-Covid facilitated by new fintech players bringing broader access through mobiles and brought in 5 million new users between April to July ‘21
  • India’s mutual fund and ETF market over the past year has been on a growth trajectory to attract a rush of retail investors and the total sector currently has an AUM of ₹ 36.74 Lakh Crore($483 B).
  • The ETF market has been continuing to expand and closed the year 2020 with $ 37B in assets managed. For context, Indian ETF market is twice the size of entire LATAM market
  • In India, where households own more than 25,000 tonnes of gold, crypto investments grew from about $923 million in April 2020 to nearly $6.6 billion in May 2021. It represents a nearly 612% rise in the number of cryptocurrency users in our country.

DEMOGRAPHICS:

a) Region:

Crypto investing is majorly dominated by the urban centres but is also witnessing a new influx of investors from smaller cities and states. A recent survey conducted by Kantar estimated that 83% of urban Indians are aware of cryptocurrency and 16% own cryptocurrency in some form. Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities seem to follow close behind and have a recent uptick in new users with states seeing up to 100 percent hike.

b) Gender:

As of 2021, it is estimated that 80% of the crypto users in India are male. The amount of female users has increased by 300% from 2020 to 2021, signaling strong growth and acceptance.

c) Age and Profession:

Most Indian users fall in the 25 to 40-year bracket and are IT professionals, MBA graduates, engineers and startup owners. Crypto also attracts gig workers as a source to receive payments from overseas and is thus popular among small businesses and freelancers.

INVESTOR BEHAVIOUR

  • Cryptocurrency is becoming a popular form of investment in recent times over stock markets and the crypto exchanges beat stock broking platforms like Zerodha in active users.
  • NFT adoption has increased since the launch of WazirX NFT marketplace and continues to grow with famous celebrities joining the bandwagon
  • The top five preferred currencies by trading volumes in India are bitcoin, with a total share of 75%, followed by DOGE at 47%, ETH at 40%, BNB at 23% and XRP at 18%, according to a survey.

India ranks sixth in terms of DeFi adoption, according to the 2021 Global DeFi Adoption Index by blockchain data platform Chainalysis. Among non-custodial wallet holdings and transactions, Ethereum seems to dominate among Indian investors.


MAPPING THE ECOSYSTEM

Crypto exchanges in India have grown from a few players to a healthy set of multiple competitors. Most exchanges have funding or partnership with global exchanges to enable them to scale faster.

India’s WazirX and CoinDCX both are within top 50 exchanges globally and do sizeable volume relative to competitors and major players like Ascendex, Huobi Korea and Woo Network

P2P trading through exchanges and chat groups has emerged as an additional channel of crypto volume in India. In Sept ‘21, during a temporary block by banks to fund exchange accounts, as much as 60-80% of the country’s volume happened through P2P methods. A significant amount of P2P trading poses as a challenge to IC since most of the volumes on P2P happen through blue-chip top assets and it also illustrates the additional user awareness that needs to be created to tap into traders in that channel.

INSTITUTIONAL INVESTMENTS


Institutions in India have taken a bigger position in crypto investments in the past year. Compared to Pakistan and Vietnam, India has a larger cohort of users by transaction size primarily driven by small and large institutions. Institutions also participate in funding rounds of crypto startups and the quarterly raises have been steadily increasing. The projected future participation and interest in digital assets of Asian institutions as a whole seems to dominate globally.

  • In India, so far, HNIs, family offices and the affluent class have been slow in adopting cryptocurrencies, as regulatory ambiguity and low familiarity have impacted participation.
  • Institutions prefer to route investments through wealth management firms like deserve and Kristal.AI
  • Mudrex a crypto token sets product startup recently launched operations in India and has raised 2.5 million in funding from Indian investors. It claims it sees a user growth of 30% every month across all countries and aims to onboard retail and institutional investors.
  • Crypto exchange CoinDCX launched its over-the-counter (OTC) Desk facility recently, and aims to facilitate bulk order purchases seeing interest from corporations, founders and newly funded startups seeking crypto exposure.

STRENGTHS TO CAPITALIZE

  • The leading crypto exchange for India have started allocating large spends on marketing to create awareness of crypto users and this is expected to grow the number of Indian active investors even more
  • The recently launched NFT marketplace by WazirX had a great reception and brought more savvy investors into the platform and they could be more knowledgeable about DeFi and nudged to adopt index products
  • The recent large user addition from tier 2/3 cities shows there are developed acquisition channels and inroads for crypto products cutting across language demographics which can be potentially researched and leveraged
  • Exchanges have started to prioritize transparency and compliance with the recent action to ban accounts based on the government’s order and are thus better placed for the regulations to come.

CONSIDERATIONS

  • The top coins traded by volume in India does not include any major DeFi coins and might indicate a different user profile which could need informative videos and education that needs to be pushed
  • Traders also have a heavy bias towards Indian coins like Polygon and EPNS and a product like P10 post launch could be well received if campaigned well. Additionally given WazirX doesn’t allow for perpetuals and leverage positions,BTC-2X and ETH-2X can perform well
  • There needs to be a localization of content and material to increase the TAM and potential partnerships with influencers, trading communities, crypto media and events should be considered.
  • Crypto regulations still being a gray area and government’s policy specifically around private wallets could be a challenge for direct purchase of IC products through DEXs and thus might need a stronger focus to get the products listed on centralized exchanges

CONCLUSION
We, as the South Asia APWG Team, have taken the following route of educational and awareness marketing for the India expansion.

  1. October 2021 & November 2021 apart from onboarding and setting up a team, we focused on the preliminary BD and growth operations like:
    • Brainstorming ways to reach out to the market and tap potential
    • Research on the market landscape report to understand the audience
    • Lead generation activity for creating databases for influencers and youtubers and agencies that can support marketing initiatives
    • Connected with CEX for getting Index products for end users etc.
  2. Conducted a voluntary meetup of crypto enthusiasts in Mumbai in November 2021. We had a participation of 120 users. 60% of which were beginners. Being our first reach-out initiative, we leveraged the meetup to do a pilot and primary check on interest
  3. In December 2021 we plan to conduct 2 AMAs:
    • AMA with the Polygon team to get the message of the Index Product on Polygon
    • AMA Indian social media influencer on MVI who has a considerable social following of crypto users in India and globally
  4. Podcast “All About Index” which will be recorded in December 2021
  5. In talks with an agency in the crypto space in Mumbai to tap and reach out to bigger and targeted audiences through their channels and resources
  6. Developing a University Reach Out Program
  7. January 2022 will also drive our focus on getting together a outreach campaign for Family Offices and HNI Investors along with the part of the team focus on educative and marketing initiatives

Our goal with this post is to bring to the community the potential Indian market has and gather ideas and alternate perspectives on the following:

  1. What are the other educational and marketing channels that we should leverage on?
  2. Traditional index products in India is a market heavily focused on purchases through exchanges by fiat, given this, how do we educate potential retail investors to use DEXes for buying our products?
  3. Is it worth an investment to tie up with Indian exchanges to address the market potential?
  4. What initiatives would the community suggest for Family Offices and HNI Investor reach out Program?

We look forward to the community helping us with their thoughts and guidance to successfully tap the India market.

11 Likes

Nicely covered.
Huge potential in the Indian Market !!!

3 Likes

Great dive into the sector, thank you! Now I understand the keenness to setup the Hindi blog. Please get in touch with lang-ops on discord if we can provide some pointers on anything translation related!

4 Likes

Great research on India Crypto Landscape @sriram @aakansha !

I’ve worked with the South Asia pod for a long time and am very confident with the direction this is heading. Definitely HUGE potential in India market.

3 Likes

This report Covers the entire spectrum & aspects of crypto space in India. It also shows the amount of hardwork put in by the team.

Having said that, getting it listed should be the first priority in a country like India where more than 85-90% of investors buy & sell through Cex. Rarely do they transact through Dex. Moreover, since the ticket size per trade is small, you can even take it for granted that they will avoid txns on Ethereum chain due to gas. Moreover, the complexity of trading through Dex since most of them are “Technically Challenged”. I suggest to get it listed first in Cex.

Secondly, I can help the team with reaching to Family offices, HNI’s.

Thanks.

3 Likes

Thanks Derby.eth for your response. We are happy to collaborate in expanding reach of Index Products to Family Offices and HNIs. Looking forward to working on this with you

2 Likes

Huge potential!!
We should definitely do more awareness on YouTube as it is used heavily by newbies of crypto to understand about the basics of crypto and the different projects and their tokens.

2 Likes

Great work to @sriram and @aakansha. This kind of regional/country research is so important for us in the broader Index Coop to get an understanding of what and how we can approach specific target market. And who could forget @Vanita for coordinating & pushing this forward.

I see this kind of research post coming out in the forum in setting the standards of how we understand the market and become a truly global DAO. Also do note that currently in the pipeline, few Crypto Landscape is being crafted… @kohei and @shugo is focusing on Japan; @CarlosGS for LATAM, and more coming along the way.

Also for visibility purposes, the likes of @LemonadeAlpha, @BigSky7 & @Mringz , @Metfanmike & @fallow8 should check this out. As Regional Expansion will be apart of Growth Nest. This would help G.Nest tactically approach specific markets and drives growth in the said regions.

Last note, this truly embodies Index Coop mission in our quest of making crypto investing easy, simple & accessible.

Kudos again to all involved. Hoot hoot.

3 Likes

From a relatively new owl here, really appreciate the level of detail here and excited to see this collaboration. Fascinating that India is growing that fast. I will leave this here Add Crypto to IndiaStack and truly believe India to be a massive and exciting opportunity to say the least. Please let me know where I can help. @masterchief on discord.

1 Like

The crypto space in India was well represented here. Excellent work! I personally think a TikTok and YouTube presence would be a great addition as there are many new people getting exposed to DAO/crypto through there .

Just found this proposal right now and got impressed, thank you for making such a great one.
Since I’ve been researching Japan’s market to know why it’s worth focusing JP field so I’m collecting data now.
This one is a very good reference for me in terms of making that one, thanks!!

3 Likes

I was surprised by the high potential of India, and the data was convincing.
I’m also contributing Japan team of Index coop.
I hope our activities will help spread our products around the world.

Do you have any good marketing strategies for new development?

3 Likes

We can connect, can take you through our marketing startegies.