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July 21, 2022

On the web

The Regulatory Implications of India’s Crypto Transactions Tax


“The Indian crypto landscape lost some momentum this year as the government introduced two laws demanding crippling taxes on crypto-related unrealized gains and transactions. India’s first crypto law, which requires its citizens to pay a 30% tax on unrealized crypto gains, came into effect on April 1. A commotion among the Indian crypto community followed as investors and entrepreneurs tried to decipher the impact of the vague announcement with little or no success. Knowing that India’s second crypto law — a 1% tax deduction at source (TDS) on every transaction — would translate into an even greater impact on trading activities, numerous crypto entrepreneurs from India considered moving bases to friendlier jurisdictions.”

July 20, 2022

On the web

RBI’s Digital Currency: Phased Implementation in Process for Wholesale, Retail Segments

DNA India

“The Reserve Bank of India is in the process of implementing the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in a phased manner for the wholesale and retail segments, an official said on Wednesday. The introduction of CBDC was announced in the Union Budget 2022-23, by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and necessary amendments to the relevant section of the RBI Act, 1934 has been made with the passage of the Finance Bill 2022, Ajay Kumar Choudhary, Executive Director (Fintech), Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said. The passage of the bill has enabled the RBI to conduct a pilot and subsequent issuance of CBDC, he said. “RBI is also working on phased implementation of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in both wholesale and retail segment,” Choudhary said while delivering a keynote address at the ‘PICUP Fintech Conference & Awards’ by FICCI. CBDC is a digital or virtual currency but it is not comparable to the private virtual currencies or cryptocurrency that have mushroomed over the last decade. Private virtual currencies do not represent any person’s debt or liabilities as there is no issuer.”

July 18, 2022

On the web

India’s Central Bank Wants to Ban Cryptocurrencies, Government Says


“India’s central bank wants to ban cryptocurrencies, the government told the parliament on Monday, raising more uncertainty about the future of the nascent virtual digital asset in the world’s second largest internet market. Nirmala Sitharaman, the minister of finance in India, said Monday that the Reserve Bank of India has expressed concerns about the “destabilising effect of cryptocurrencies on the monetary and fiscal stability of a country” and has recommended “for framing of legislation on this sector,” she said. “RBI is of the view that cryptocurrencies should be prohibited,” she added.”

July 14, 2022

On the web

Internet Body to Dismantle Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (India)

The Economic Times

“The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has decided to dismantle the Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC), which was formed to represent crypto exchanges before authorities like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and other key government departments.According to two sources familiar with the development, IAMAI decided to distance itself from cryptocurrency.”

July 12, 2022

On the web

As Silicon Valley Fantasizes About Web3, India Leaps Ahead on Payments


“For more than a decade, Silicon Valley’s moguls have been promoting Bitcoin and blockchain-based cryptocurrencies, claiming these will transform global commerce. Instead, Bitcoin long ago died as a digital currency, becoming nothing more than an empty speculative asset with its value most recently plunging from $60,000 to less than $20,000. Meanwhile, as those same hypesters now promote a mystical Internet world called Web3, India is racing ahead and implementing what the crypto crowd had promised—with its Unified Payment Services (UPI).”

July 6, 2022

On the web

India Opens Up Its Digital Payments Systems and Other Key Tech


“The Indian government on Monday said that it was making its identity management and digital payments systems available to any interested nation via open APIs under the name of Indiastack.global. India Stack, which started its journey in 2010 as a digital identity project under the name ‘Aadhaar’, is made up of a database of biometric information of citizens and digital tools for paperless, cashless service delivery…The India Stack centers around Aadhaar for digital identity and digital payments systems such as the United Payments Interface (UPI), but none are owned or maintained by a single body in the government.”

July 5, 2022

On the web

Why India Is No Fan of Buy Now, Pay Later


“It seems that India’s central bank is no fan of “buy now, pay later.” But then, the regulator’s irritation with this newish fad in consumer finance is wholly understandable…It was all getting a bit too much. So last week, the Reserve Bank of India brought out its regulatory axe and hacked away at a popular path to small-ticket fintech loans. According to new RBI guidelines, nonbanks can no longer load prepaid instruments — digital wallets, or stored-value cards — using credit lines. The only valid options for a buyer are to prefill their wallet with cash, or to debit their bank or credit-card accounts… The RBI wants every small-ticket loan to be a marriage officially solemnized in the church of banking.”

June 29, 2022

On the web

New RBI Circular Creates Panic In The ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ Sector


“An RBI letter asking “All Non-Bank Pre-Paid Instruments (PPI) Issuers” to cease issuing cards has led to the ‘buy now pay later’ (BNPL) sector expressing concerns. The BNPL sector: Participants in the sector include companies that provide PPIs to customers with little creditworthiness, like students and young professionals.”

June 24, 2022

On the web

RBI Extends Deadline for Card Tokenisation by Another 3 Months till Sept 30

Business Standard

“The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is extending the deadline for card-on-file (CoF) tokenisation by another three months to September 30 as transaction processing based on such tokens is yet to gain traction across categories of merchants. It was mandated that no entity in the card transaction or in the payment chain, other than the card issuers and / or card networks, can store the CoF data, and any such data stored previously be purged. The initial deadline was January 1, which was extended by six months.”

June 22, 2022

On the web

RBI Payments Vision 2025: Increase Digital Transactions by 3X


“The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has unveiled its ‘Payments Vision 2025’, which intends to boost the country’s e-payments ecosystem. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released a design for payment system regulation that intends to give customers quick, easy, and affordable electronic payment choices.   As part of its Vision 2025, the RBI outlined regulations for BigTech and FinTechs, as well as buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) systems and the creation of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).”

June 14, 2022

On the web

Credit Card Linkage to UPI: Uncertainty Over Pricing Leaves Players in Dark


“While the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) decision to allow linking of RuPay credit cards to Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has been received positively by the industry as it is expected to open up a big payment universe, an uncertainty over the pricing structure has left players seeking clarity on how such a move will be implemented. Whether it is a credit card, debit card, or UPI, the consumer doesn’t incur any charge, it is the merchant who bears the cost in terms of merchant discount rate (MDR). While there is no MDR on UPI, for debit cards, it is capped at 0.9 per cent. There is, however, no cap on MDR for credit cards. Typically, credit cards (non-RuPay) have MDRs of 200 bps vs 50 bps MDR on debit cards. Rupay debit cards have no MDR whereas Rupay credit cards typically have lower MDRs vs those on Visa/Mastercard. Also, usually, in MDR, the issuing bank takes 60 per cent, and the balance is shared between the network provider (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) and acquirer….When asked about the pricing structure, T Rabi Sankar, deputy governor, RBI, said: “How the pricing structure will work out we will have to see because it’s something that the banks and system entities have to do. At this point, we will introduce the arran­gement and see how the pricing goes”….Also, there is no clarity on whether the facility will be extended to credit cards of other card networks, such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc.”

May 27, 2022

On the web

RBI Working on Phased Approach Ahead of Digital Currency Launch

The New Indian Express

“The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will adopt a graded approach to introduce the blockchain-based Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). It is planning a step-by-step approach – right from proof of concepts to pilots – before launching the digital currency. The central bank has been exploring the pros and cons of introducing the digital currency in India, ever since it was announced in the Union Budget.     Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, during her Budget speech, said the digital currency would be introduced by 2023.”

May 11, 2022

On the web

Why Crypto’s Rough Year In India Just Got Worse


India’s latest decisions governing cryptocurrency portend turbulent times ahead for the country’s nascent but booming digital currency industry. During its launch event in India on April 7, American cryptocurrency giant Coinbase announced that its Indian investors would be able to use the country’s popular online payments system, UPI, to transfer funds to its local exchange. The pronouncement effectively operationalized the exchange in the world’s second-largest internet market. But hours later, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the regulatory agency overseeing UPI, released a terse, one-sentence statement claiming it was unaware of any cryptocurrency exchange using the payments system.

May 9, 2022

On the web

UPI Transactions Reaches New Heights with 5.58 Billion in April 2022


According to information provided by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), 5.58 billion transactions were processed using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in April 2022. This is the most extensive number of UPI transactions in a single month since the system was launched in 2016.  Last month, the payments network saw transactions worth Rs. 9.83 lakh crore.

May 4, 2022

On the web

Here Are The Top Trends Shaping India’s Payment Scene

Fintech Singapore

“India’s digital payments space has seen a massive boom over the past few years, a growth that’s been supported by an expanding e-commerce marketplace and the wider availability of acceptance infrastructure at physical stores. Building on the rise in digital payment adoption induced by COVID-19 and growing collaborations between fintechs and traditional financial services providers, the payments industry will continue to evolve rapidly over the next two years with more developments expected to take place in areas including contactless payments, the Internet-of-Things (IoT) payments, artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), and distributed ledger technology (DLT).”

April 21, 2022

On the web

How Meta Platforms Fell Behind in Indian Mobile Payments

Wall Street Journal

“Mark Zuckerberg has pinned his hopes on commerce to save his business from stagnating user engagement and decelerating advertising revenue growth. But in the massive market of India, Facebook parent company Meta Platforms has fallen far behind in mobile payments, which serve as the crucial last step in closing an online sale. It needs to get its act together quickly if it doesn’t want to lose out to Google and Walmart in the race for controlling digital payments in the world’s second-largest internet market. Meta has a popular mobile messaging platform in the country with WhatsApp, which has its own local payment service. But so far, the encrypted messaging app has been at loggerheads with the Indian government over multiple issues, all of which are likely impacting its payment ambitions in India.”

April 14, 2022

On the web

WhatsApp Permitted to Extend Payments Service to 100 Million Users in India


“The National Payments Corporation of India, the payments body that oversees the widely popular UPI instrument, has given approval to WhatsApp to extend its payments service to 100 million users in the South Asian market, a person familiar with the matter said. WhatsApp was previously allowed to rollout WhatsApp Pay to 40 million users in the world’s second largest internet market. WhatsApp, the most popular smartphone app in India, initially rolled out its payments service in India in 2020 , but the Meta-owned service has struggled to expand the offering to a larger base in India because of confusing regulatory pushback. The NPCI has insisted that WhatsApp rolls out the payments service in step-by-step phases, a person familiar with the matter said, even as no other company has had to comply with a similar order.”

March 22, 2022

On the wires

March 21, 2022

On the web

How Simplicity in Domestic Remittance Is Boosting Financial Inclusion in India

Times of India Blog

“In the world of digitisation, many FinTech companies have altered the digital payment space in India. Whether it is on-the-spot payments through UPI or quick grocery delivery, almost everything in our daily lives has been digitised. But with only 28% of rural Indians owning internet-enabled smartphones and a poor level of digital literacy, the country’s rural heartland is missing out on the country’s FinTech revolution. While young urban customers are familiar with digital wallets and how to use them effectively, the underbanked sector still requires assistance to navigate the world of digital banking services.”

March 17, 2022

On the web

India explores ‘rupee-rouble’ exchange scheme to beat Russia sanctions


“India’s central bank is in initial consultations on a rupee-rouble trade arrangement with Moscow that would enable exports to Russia to continue after western sanctions restricted international payment mechanisms. The talks, which would allow India to continue to buy Russian energy exports and other goods, risks angering Washington and its allies as they seek to punish Moscow for its war on Ukraine.”

January 3, 2022

On the wires

MoneyGram Continues to Digitize Global Receive Network With Paytm Payments Bank Partnership, Connecting Company to Millions of Mobile Wallet Users in India

MoneyGram International, Inc. , a global leader in the evolution of digital P2P payments, today announced a milestone in the digitization of its global receive network with a new partnership with Paytm Payments Bank , India’s leading payments bank and a driver of financial inclusion in the country. Through this partnership, MoneyGram customers around the globe can send money in near real-time directly to the millions of fully KYC compliant Paytm Wallets in India.”

December 20, 2021

On the web

RBI Told Board It Wants Blanket Crypto Ban, Economic Times Says


“The Reserve Bank of India said it favors a complete ban on cryptocurrencies at a meeting of its central board on Friday, the Economic Times reported , citing unnamed people familiar with the deliberations. India’s central bank made a detailed presentation to its board highlighting “serious concerns” around the impact of cryptocurrencies on macroeconomic and financial stability, as well as exchange management, the newspaper said.”

December 15, 2021

On the web

Cabinet Approves Incentive Scheme To Push Digital Payments


“Aiming to promote digital transactions and incentivise users having Rupay debit cards and BHIM unified payments interface (UPI) system, the union cabinet on Wednesday approved reimbursement of ₹ 1,300 crore on such transactions. Elaborating about the cabinet’s decision, minister for electronics and IT Ashwini Vaishnaw told media persons that the government will reimburse transaction charges levied on digital payments made by persons to the merchant as part of the merchant discount rate (MDR).”

December 8, 2021

On the web

Proposed India Bill Banning Crypto Payments Could Mean Jail for Violations -document


“Proposed legislation that would ban the use of cryptocurrencies as a method of payment in India also seeks to make those who infringe the law subject to arrest without a warrant and being held without bail, according to a source and a summary of the bill seen by Reuters. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has previously flagged that it plans to ban most cryptocurrencies – a move which follows measures by China this September that intensified its crackdown on cryptocurrencies.”

November 30, 2021

On the web

WhatsApp Wins Approval to Double Payments Offering to 40 Mln Users in India -source


“WhatsApp (FB.O) has won regulatory approval to double the number of users on its payments service in India to 40 million, a source with direct knowledge told Reuters on Friday. The company had requested that there should be no cap on users of its payment service in India. Instead, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) this week told the company it could double the user base to which it can offer its payment service – currently restricted to 20 million – the source said.”

November 19, 2021

On the web

PhonePe crosses the 2 Billion monthly transaction mark

APN News

“PhonePe, India’s leading digital payments platform today announced that it has processed over 2 Billion transactions on its platform in Oct’21. PhonePe is the market leader in UPI transactions, driving the highest number of P2P and merchant transactions in the country. It also has the pole position in Recharge and Bill Payment transactions via BBPS. PhonePe had crossed the 1 Billion monthly transaction mark in February this year, and has now hit the 2 billion milestone in just 8 months, cementing its position as India’s leading Fintech platform.”

Google Pay’s handy split bill feature is coming to India later this year

Android Police

“Google Pay is one of the most frequently used payment services in India, where it’s the go-to app for UPI payments. Today, at the Google for India 2021 event, the search giant announced a couple of new features that will make the app even better. The bill split feature was first tested in Singapore before being rolled out in the US at the end of 2020. It’s going to come to India later this year, which will be super handy when a group of friends or family members go out to a restaurant or a movie and need to split up the expenses among them. It will send the request to group members and also track the payments for you. It will also help you avoid sending reminders to your friends on WhatsApp as Google Pay can take care of that.”

November 9, 2021

On the web

Paytm, a Payments Company, Is Aiming to Raise $2.5 Billion Amid India’s Stock Boom.

The New York Times

“With stocks on a tear in India, the parent company of Paytm, a leading digital payments app, went public on Monday with hopes of becoming the country’s largest initial public offering… Paytm was founded in 2010 as a payments transfer business. It now allows users to send money to friends, buy small items like coffee or clothing, and finance big-ticket items like cars. All but ubiquitous in India’s biggest cities, Paytm commands more than 40 percent of India’s digital payments market.”

November 8, 2021

On the web

Buy Now, Pay Later Set to Surge Over Ten-fold in India


“India’s buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) industry is booming and set to surge over ten-fold within four years as tens of millions of online shoppers get lured by interest-free credit with fewer hassles, market players told Reuters. Redseer estimates India’s BNPL market will rocket to $45-50 billion by 2026 from $3-3.5 billion now. The research firm also estimates that the number of BNPL users in the country may rise to 80-100 million customers by then, from 10-15 million currently.”

November 3, 2021

On the wires

DLocal Launches Subscription Payment Solution for the Indian Market

“dLocal, a technology-first payments platform that enables global enterprise merchants to connect with billions of consumers in emerging markets, announces today the launch of a new auto-debit payment solution for subscription business model companies in India. The solution is now available to both local and international merchants and is fully compliant with the new Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines.”

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