Telangana Joins CoinSwitch Kuber, Lumos Labs to Launch ‘India Blockchain Accelerator’ Program for Startups

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Before India decides the rules and regulations for the crypto space, a ‘Blockchain Accelerator' plans to give some startups the necessary assistance to succeed. The Telangana government has inked deals with crypto exchange CoinSwitch Kuber and innovation management firm Lomos Labs to mark the blockchain education-focused initiative in India. Entrepreneurs wanting to enter the blockchain space would be able to use the initiative to explore opportunities, mentorship, tech support, and funding scopes for their projects. India Blockchain Accelerator is the second edition of T-Block Accelerator, a Telangana-originated programme.

Blockchain is the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies and consists of information called blocks connected through cryptography. Blockchain technology currently supports cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), as well as the metaverse in the present day.

The programme will go on for a tenure of four months and will accept admission requests from early-stage Web2 and Web3 startups and blockchain builders.

Entrepreneurs from eight selected startups will also get an opportunity to secure up to $700,000 (roughly Rs. 5.32 crore) for pre-seed and seed funding from companies like Lightspeed and WoodstockFund.

Members of the chosen startups will also be allowed to attend workshops, meet-ups, mentorship, and coaching.

“Right now, anybody who's launching an enterprise online has to pay 70 percent of its income to international infrastructure suppliers, and cash strikes out. The blockchain trade is forming a brand new Internet altogether,” said Ashish Singhal, Founder, CoinSwitch Kuber.

The development comes at a time when India is mulling over what regulations to impose on the crypto space.

The government has expressed concern that cryptocurrencies may be used for luring investors with misleading claims and for funding terror activities and money laundering.

Recently, the crypto market was left shaken by reports that the Parliament agenda in India included a bill seeking to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies from operating in the country. The agenda also noted that the government wishes to bring an official digital currency for India.

However, it should be noted that this exact same bill was also listed for the Budget Session, but did not get discussed at the time.

Currently, the proposal drafted by the finance ministry is awaiting cabinet approval before it reaches Parliament.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Twitter handle was briefly hacked, and a tweet claiming that India has “officially adopted Bitcoin as legal tender” was put out from it.

The Prime Minister's Office later said the account was immediately secured after the matter was escalated to Twitter.

Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.


Russian Government Increases Scrutiny of Crypto Market to Trace, Prevent Tax Evasion

The crypto market is under high scrutiny in Russia as the government there is trying to prevent people from evading taxes using these untraceable cryptocurrencies. During an interview, Danniil Egorov, the head of the Russian Federal Taxation Service (FNS) expressed concerns about the negative impact, cryptocurrencies could make in the national treasury if not monitored properly. According to Egorov, these decentralised crypto tokens are capable of causing “significant erosion” to Russia's tax base. The FNS is now exploring ways of responding to crypto tax evasions as well.

“If we talk about cryptocurrencies, then we are now quite closely engaged in this market, realising that this system of calculations can create a fairly significant erosion for the tax base,” a report by Russian media RBC Group quoted the tax official as saying on Monday, November 22.

Revealing plans of installing automated tracking systems to process big data volumes, Egorov said that it is only a matter of time that the “untraceable” link that makes the crypto space unique, would become traceable.

“Technologies are used, anonymisation is used in terms of providing services by various fraudsters, of course. When you get into the digital space, you still leave a trail somewhere. And it's a matter of time before this trail is identified,” the FNS official added.

Presently untraceable in nature, cryptocurrencies are decentralized digital finance system where records are maintained using cryptography, and not any bank or physical intermediary.

As of January 1, 2021, cryptocurrencies were declared “allowed” in Russia — but not to be used as an exchange for goods and services. Russians can mine, trade and hold cryptocurrencies — but using them as a payment option can push people behind the bars, as per a report by Forbes.

While the Russian government has spoken about creating the country's own regulated digital currency, holding undeclared cryptocurrency between $1,300 (roughly Rs. 97,500) and $13,000 (roughly Rs. 9.7 lakhs) is a finable and jail-time offence in the nation.

Regulating Cryptocurrency Around the World

Along with Russia, other nations are also looking at ways to stitch taxation with cryptocurrencies.

In India, for instance, the federal finance ministry has formed a new committee to find out if income made by cryptocurrency trading could be taxed.

Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden also signed a new law which includes tax reporting provisions that apply to cryptocurrencies.

Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency market is booming internationally. Presently, the global crypto market capitalisation is around $2.9 trillion (roughly Rs. 2,15,66,720 crore) as per the data by CoinMarketCap.

Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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