Cryptocurrency-focused bank Cashaa has opened a branch branded Unicas in India, where the future of crypto assets is unclear.
In its Dec. 28 announcement, Cashaa claims that the branch that it opened in Jaipur, India, in collaboration with local financial services firm United Multistate is the “world’s first physical crypto banking branch.” Unicas CEO Dinesh Kukreja commented:
“This will allow us to build, scale and offer customized financial and crypto products for the local Indian markets.”
Unicas aims to open 14 branches in January and increase the number to 100 branches in 2022. With this aggressive expansion, the firm aims to onboard 25,000 customers within the first quarter of 2021.
The Unicas crypto bank will be provide traditional banking services and those aimed at crypto asset holders, the company said. The firm’s offerings include savings accounts, a crypto exchange, crypto loans, and debit cards enabling holders to spend cryptocurrencies.
Furthermore, Unicas customers can request an instant loan digitally by depositing crypto assets in their wallet and borrowing Indian rupees on their card or bank account.
The announcement came after a report yesterday by English-language news outlet The Times of India, that said the government is considering imposing an 18% goods and services tax on all cryptocurrency transactions.
That would actually be good news, as cryptocurrency’s future in India remains precarious. As Modern Consensus reported in mid-September, Indian lawmakers were planning to introduce laws that would entirely prohibit cryptocurrency trading in the country. Still, the parliamentary session in which that law would have been voted on was scheduled to run from Dec. 7 to Dec. 11. But, it was canceled due to the ongoing pandemic.
That being said, some Indian crypto stakeholders believe there is a positive outlook for the future of the industry in the world’s second most-populous country. Sathvik Viswanath, the CEO and co-founder of Indian crypto exchange Unocoin, told Modern Consensus earlier this month that he believes that it is “very likely” that India’s hostility towards crypto will change.
The Unicas banking service’s collaboration with United Multistate allows Unicas to access its partner’s regulatory licenses, physical branches, and overall banking infrastructure.
“If we are planning to move ahead with the aim of digital India then we cannot hesitate in adopting new technologies and finding innovative ways to bring it to Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities in India,” said Cashaa founder and CEO Kumar Gaurav.
He explained that the initiative aims to foster crypto adoption in India. “In addition to banking, Unicas will also provide information and guidance on the level of convenience and security that blockchain technology offers,” he said.