There’s bad news for crypto enthusiasts. India is looking to introduce a new law to ban cryptocurrencies, months after the Supreme Court quashed the April 2018 circular of the Reserve Bank of India that prevented banks from providing services in support of virtual currencies.
A draft note will be sent to the cabinet after consultations and, subsequently, to Parliament. If it is along similar lines as an earlier proposal, the law will deal a blow to investors, exchanges and other entities dealing in virtual currencies such as bitcoin.
Why it matters
A high-level government panel, in July 2019, prepared a draft law providing for a ban on all forms of private cryptocurrencies. It had suggested a fine of up to Rs 25 crore and imprisonment of up to 10 years for anyone dealing in them. The government sees a legal framework as being more effective than a circular from the RBI. Read more.
Dining at home
Dine-in customers at eateries are scarce, although takeaways and deliveries are picking up pace. Industry lobby National Restaurant Association of India is also separately reaching out to states, urging them to permit serving of alcohol and compress curfew timings.
Restaurants that have opened up look different now. Technology and safety protocols are at the heart of operations, superseding ambience. They are also sanitizing all prepared food boxes under UV disinfectant before dispatch, adopting contactless dining and payment solutions as well as third-party hygiene audits to instil confidence among diners. Read more.
Draper Startup House, which started off as an entrepreneur-focused co-living and coworking venture, has launched its seed-stage investment syndicate platform, Draper Venture Syndicate Network, in India.
Why is it significant?
It is in talks to collaborate with well-known investment firms including Qualcomm Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners, Inventus Venture Partners and Axilor Ventures, among others in India, and has onboarded about 25 investors and 37 startups till date. Draper Startup House is the latest entrant to the early-stage syndicate-focused investment space in India, an area where the likes of AngelList, LetsVenture and Better Capital have already created a name for themselves over the past two years. Read more.
Counting on corner shops
Fintech lenders focused on small businesses are finding comfort in the steady cash flows of corner shops selling groceries, milk and medicines as the Covid-19 pandemic hits discretionary spending.
Loans for essentials
Most fintech lenders are focusing on servicing existing clients and in the process turning off the funding tap for new borrowers. The only exception is for essential services, including grocery shops, dairy outlets, pharmacies, opticians and restaurants offering food delivery. BharatPe, which equips merchants with digital payments solutions and gives them loans through non-banking companies, said it is doubling down on lending to essential services. Read more.
Freelancers in demand
Freelancing business is showing signs of a revival after the government eased the lockdown earlier this month, according to a study by Refrens, a Bengaluru-based invoices and payment system for freelancers.
By the numbers
- Around 64% freelancers said they have more work now compared to the previous two months.
- About 63% of invoices raised in the month of March before the country went into lockdown are now fully paid compared to 16% payments made in April and 27% in May.
- About 76% designers and 80% content writers say they have more work in June compared to April or May. Read more.
(Illustrations and graphics by Rahul Awasthi)