Housing one of the youngest populations in the world, India, in recent years has established itself among some of the more technologically sound nations globally. Now that the sectors of cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and metaverse are making inroads in the investor and big tech circles, industry insiders have predicted India to give an exponential boom to these up-and-coming Web3 technologies. Tech-friendly Indians are already embracing the technologies with excitement and intrigue, especially after artists like Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan regestered their presences in these new arenas.
Speaking to Gadgets 360, Anshul Ailawadi, the head of Viacom18’s Youth, Music and English Entertainment (YME) team said that the fondness of collecting things has always been a trend among Indians which will get a crypto twist in times to come, pinpointing at the NFT culture catching up in the nation. NFTs are digital collectibles built on blockchain.
“India is a combination of an emerging economy, a high population density, and has a strong appetite towards the adoption of technology. We always had people collecting stuff, be it cars, stamps, books, coins. Now, companies are realising that a lot of their core audiences are extremely fascinated and intrigued by the NFT space,” he said.
Currently, a bunch of indigenous NFT marketplaces have cropped up in India that include BeyondLife.club, Bollycoin, and WazirX among others.
Earlier this month, Viacom 18’s YME itself launched its own dedicated NFT marketplace named “Fully Faltoo”.
Indians also contributed whole heartedly to NFT purchases. Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s NFT collection for instance, fetched $966,000 (approximately Rs. 7.18 crore) last year.
In fact earlier this week, the Deepak Thaplial, the Indian-origin CEO of Boston-based blockchain firm Chain poured a whopping $23 million (roughly Rs. 172.5 crore) to buy a rare CryptoPunk NFT.
“High-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) are continuing to invest in cryptocurrencies to diversify their portfolio, while NFTs are slowly gaining asset-class credibility,” Keyur Patel, Co-Founder & Chairman, GuardianLink.io told Gadgets 360. The GuardianLink.io platform enables blockchain commerce.
This estimation on the NFT growth that India is likely to witness in the near future comes despite the lack of clarity that surrounds the classifications of these digital collectibles.
It remains unclear for now, if NFTs are even classified as digital assets in the country.
“Over half a million Indian users have already shown interest in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and metaverse projects. Indians are warming up to this new digital asset that has given creators and collaborators a fresh platform to earn better moolah while generating more value for their work,” Patel noted.
In recent days, the metaverse space also saw interesting engagements in India.
Music label T-Series announced its entry into the metaverse in partnership with Hungama TV last month. As part of the deal, Hungama will be creating NFTs from the vast catalogue of new and existing Bollywood content parented by T-Series.
This month, a couple from India’s Tamil Nadu state hosted a Harry Potter-themed wedding reception in the metaverse where guests marked their attendance as digital avatars.
Punjabi singer Daler Mehndi took it a notch higher for contemporaries by becoming the first Indian artist to do a metaverse concert in January.
Research reports expect the market opportunity for the metaverse to reach $800 billion (roughly Rs. 59,58,719 crore) by 2024, and as per Indian industry insiders, Indians will have a substantial amount to contribute to this industry.
Cryptocurrencies make for an integral part of the metaverse as they allow us to calculate the value of digital assets in fiat currency and their returns over time.
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