India's Crypto, Web3 Industry Forms New Advocacy Body

A previous organization representing the industry was disbanded earlier this year.

AccessTimeIconNov 3, 2022 at 10:44 a.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 4:01 a.m. UTC

India's crypto industry has formed a new advocacy body almost four months after the previous one was disbanded under cloudy circumstances, according to an announcement on Thursday.

The body will be called Bharat Web3 Association (BWA), a shift in branding toward Web3 from the earlier Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC). The word Bharat represents the nation of India.

The BACC was disbanded in July by its parent organization, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). That damped the mood of the crypto ecosystem during a crypto market downturn at the same time as stiff new taxes and macroeconomic factors were hurting the industry and its consumers.

India's crypto tax regime was criticized Thursday by Changpeng Zhao, CEO of crypto exchange Binance, during a panel at a fintech conference in Singapore. Zhao said the high level of taxes is "probably going to kill the industry," in the country, Bloomberg reported.

Leading members of the new association involve Polygon, Hike, Coin DCX, CoinSwitch Kuber, Zebpay, and WazirX, making it the most prominent Web3 advocate in India. Some registration and procedural formalities remain, three people familiar with the plan said before the announcement.

The goals of the body include driving awareness about Web3, pushing for technology and innovation, supporting ecosystem partners and outreach to regulators to communicate steps towards consumer protection.

"Owing to its thriving developer community, entrepreneurial spirit, fast-growing economy, sound digital infrastructure, and deep digital adoption, India is poised to become a leader in the Web3 space," said Sandeep Nailwal, a co-founder of Polygon Technology. "BWA will play a pivotal role in helping India achieve its potential as a global Web3 leader," he added.

India is gearing up for its yearlong stint of holding the presidency of the Group of 20 nations starting next month. The "BWA is committed to working with the Government of India" to lead a collaborative regulatory framework for digital assets, according to the announcement.

CORRECTION (Nov. 3, 11:01 UTC): Corrects acronym of BWA in second paragraph.

UPDATE (Nov. 3, 12:47 UTC): Changes sourcing to official announcement from people familiar; updates headline to reflect sourcing; adds context, quote from an industry leader and Zhao comment.


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Amitoj Singh

Amitoj Singh is a CoinDesk reporter.