India’s Tax Implications For Digital Assets

Abhishek Shah
3 min readMar 30, 2022

The Indian government recently imposed a blanket 30% tax on crypto recipients, effectively putting crypto on par with speculative activities like gambling. This has sparked debates about the policy’s economic implications and whether there are better alternatives.

Possible Impact In India

On the plus side, supporters applaud the government’s first-ever ‘recognition’ of the $16 billion blockchain ecosystem. This puts an end to rumours of an official ban on cryptocurrency, which would have impacted not only the 15 crore Indians who have transacted cryptocurrency at least once but also official authorities who would have had to ramp up their efforts to track down an underground economy that is already difficult to regulate. We cannot assume, however, that this legitimises crypto in India, because every asset, even if unregulated, is taxed.

The Indian finance bill is broad enough to cover “Virtual Digital Assets (VDAs),” but these assets must be thoroughly characterised in order to justify a blanket 30% tax on cryptocurrency in India. Cryptocurrency introduces complications that were not anticipated during the Finance Bill’s drafting, such as the grey area of token ‘transfer.’ Miners are granted coins as a result of complex algorithms, which may or may not be considered an active transfer. Furthermore, the blockchain universe is developing a number of use cases, such as Defi, Decentralized applications (DApps), and Web 3.0 gaming, all of which have a large market in India.

Encouragement of investments and market growth in these fields will not only provide the government with additional tax revenue but will also help India develop a futuristic industry, giving it a competitive advantage as an Emerging Market. Instead, a disproportionate tax risks market collapse, resulting in a complete loss of tax revenue due to tax avoidance or destination switching. Individuals who do not fall into the 30% income tax bracket in the United States would have to file their crypto returns separately, putting additional strain on both the individuals and the tax department.

Crypto and digital progress, without a doubt, hold promise for India’s $5 trillion goals. India can take advantage of these new-age capabilities if current policies are tweaked to be more accommodating. Several crypto industry executives are also enthusiastic about the policy because it clarifies government support for the Indian blockchain industry, which extends beyond cryptocurrency and could boost investment and startup activity in Web 3.0, metaverse, and other areas. This could be the beginning of India’s acceptance of cryptocurrency and all of its benefits.

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Abhishek Shah

Nomad | Early Stage Investor | Wannabe Anthropologist | Technology Evangelist | Curious, Inquisitive & Experimental Entrepreneur