Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Crypto bill confounds funds; IPL teams fume over crypto diktat

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It’s a crypto-licious edition of Morning Dispatch today.

First up, while some blockchain and crypto funds are rethinking their strategies in case the government bans cryptocurrencies, others remain bullish, pinning their hopes on innovation-friendly rules. Meanwhile, the Indian Premier League has left franchises fuming by banning them from striking deals with cryptocurrency firms. And finally, Aviral Bhatnagar, founder of A Junior VC, explains how creators and NFTs are fuelling the digital renaissance.

Also in this letter:

  • Column: Startups, stay sharp, but grow up
  • Tech firms step up campus hiring as attrition spikes
  • Upstox valuation may top $3 billion in new round

    Some crypto funds rethink strategies, others cling to hope

Amid speculation that India is set to ban cryptocurrencies, a few blockchain and crypto-focused funds are rethinking their investment strategies.

Though the broader crypto community feels a ban is unlikely, some funds are erring on the side of caution. They are planning for contingencies to ensure they do not face a situation like in 2018, when the Reserve Bank of India banned banks from providing services to the crypto community.

On hold: Early-stage venture fund Amesten Capital, which has invested in a handful of Indian projects in the decentralised finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFT) space, paused its investments in November following reports the cryptocurrency bill would be introduced in the winter session of Parliament.

“We are still unclear on the playbook set by the government; if there are certain terms which may hurt innovation in the space, the builders will choose to move out and we will also have to,” Amesten Capital cofounder Sachin Jain said.

More than $500 million in risk capital has flowed into Indian startups in the crypto and blockchain space in 2021, compared to less than $40 million last year, we reported in October. The bulk of it has come from foreign investors.

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