MUMBAI: WazirX, the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange both by number of users and value of trades, is pushing deeper into setting up separate platforms for fungible trading in art and music, just days after the government announced that they would be creating broad classifications and categories for crypto. Nischal Shetty, founder and CEO of WazirX, says that “cryptocurrency is here to stay, now more than ever.”
He expects that there will not be one encompassing law or regulation and that there will be separate frameworks for different parts of the ecosystem. Shetty adds that if in the last 2-3 years, it’s been all about crypto trading and the focus was mostly by traders and the getting into investments, then the last year non fungible tokens or NFT’s have shown they need not only be about investments but also about a platform for trading alternate assets. “We see ourselves as a window to the crypto world,” he said.
With eight million users, WazirX has seen trading volumes of around $ 21 billion dollars in the last nine months. In June, WazirX launched a market place for artists and cartoonists. They selected 150 artists whose work they will be creating an NFT exchange for. The forum for art went live on June 1 and in July it added a category for music, and electronic dance music performers. Vishakha Singh, Vice President of WazirX NFT marketplace, says that on the market place people can buy and sell digital art or creations.
Banks, financial institutions and precious stores of value like gold and silver have taken centuries to gain trust and credibility as store of value so what makes purveyors of crypto exchanges and currency think they can achieve the same in a few years or months? “The first hurdle would be educating the masses, which is happening,” Singh says, adding that right now it is a starting point and cannot be compared to burnished institutions. However, she maintains that blockchain is transparent.
Crypto has been around for a decade now and the way that NFT exchanges are headed could mean that a writers book cover or a singers first draft of a hit song can become tradable. How does trading on an NFT platform work? Singh explains that if a person sees the first edition of a Spiderman comic landing up on an exchange as a one of a kind item with an NFT to it, he or she can purchase it through a wallet that is used to buy WazirX currency that is in turn used to buy the NFT. That NFT can then in turn be used to trade buy or sell other items in that ecosystem.