The right move
India is already the world leader in digital payments through its centrally run Unified Payments Interface . Its half a billion smartphone users aggregated 35 billion real time payments totaling over $850 billion in the 12 months to October. That month alone saw 4.2 billion transactions for $105 billion total value: https://www.npci.org.in/what-we-do/upi/product-statistics
These numbers are double the aggregate to the same month in 2020, which in turn was double that of 2019. By end of year these should be 40 billion transactions for $1 trillion in value. With the network effect taking hold, 2022 could see 100 billion transactions for $2 trillion value.
Crypto and for that matter the conventional Visa/MC network have little value in India. The local RuPay card has over 600 million cardholder, an order of magnitude more than Visa. The Indian fintech play is simple - a national tech stack that drives trillions of dollars in internal transactions with strict data localization laws blocking out data collection and cross border personal data movement by ad companies like Google.
What’s crypto going to do here ? India already has a functional and ubiquitous digital payments system. Payment QR codes are everywhere. Even pushcart vendors use it. One can travel across country and conduct all typical transactions using UPI and never deal with cash.
Indias banning crypto not because it’s reactionary but because it already has a robust digital payments infrastructure and crypto is just speculative noise.