By Shubhangi Shah
Since its launch in 2009, cryptocurrencies have seen steep ups and downs. From bitcoin, the most popular digital currency, hitting a price as high as $46,715 to misled investors of $600 million, a lot has happened in the cryptocurrency world this year. It may be impossible to argue with the popularity of this digital currency, but countries have taken a cautious course.
Since April 1, profits made on cryptocurrency trading are taxed at 30% in India. At the same time, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman failed to legalize it. “I’m not going to legalize it or ban it at this point,” FM said earlier this year, making itself the butt of many tickling memes and jokes. However, the Reserve Bank of India is expected to launch the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), dubbed as “Digital Rupee”, in this fiscal year.
Bitcoin, the world’s first and most popular cryptocurrency, was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. Nothing is known about Satoshi, whether that was actually his real name or just a person or group. A South Pacific island in Vanuatu is nicknamed “Satoshi” and all transactions there are done through digital currencies. the
The private atoll is heralded to become “the crypto capital of the world.”
When Ukraine passed the bill to legalize cryptocurrencies in February this year, it was a different time. There were no Russian tanks or soldiers on its soil (without Crimea), and combat aircraft did not violate its skies. A month after the start of the war, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed the bill. Interestingly, the same leader had vetoed a similar bill passed in September last year. Since the war, Ukraine has received hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency as donations.
While Ukraine has gone all out with the digital currency, Australia has also taken a step forward, albeit cautiously. ANZ (Australia and New Zealand Banking Group), the country’s third-largest lender, hit the stablecoin on March 24, the first Australian bank to do so. Stablecoin is a digital currency, just like bitcoin, but backed by a reserve asset like gold or fiat currency. In short, a stablecoin has the stability of Fiat currency with the freedom of digital. ANZ said it minted 30 million Australian dollar stablecoins, dubbed A$DC.
While Australia took a step forward, Thailand retreated. Since April 1, it has banned the use of any digital currency as a payment option for products and services. However, trade and investment continue. The Southeast Asian country cited the stability of its financial system and economy as reasons for the move.
The concern around crypto stems from the anonymity surrounding it, which has also made it the target of numerous frauds and break-ins. In one of the biggest such heists to date, a colossal $600 million worth of cryptocurrency was stolen from a blockchain network connected to Axie Infinity, the popular online game. The theft allegedly took place on March 23 this year, but was only revealed a few days later.
Despite the significant risks involved, cryptocurrencies arouse widespread intrigue. The volatility involved is a concern, but this has not affected investors’ ambitions. The market is growing day by day and it is up to the world to see if it will revolutionize the future of money or fuel financial instability.