NFTs are on the rise and have been on the rise for years now. From the millions of dollars that are poured into the industry monthly to the emerging regulations around the world and its ever-growing public profile, there is no denying this. There is also no denying that NFTs’ acceptance has not been uniform across the globe.
While some countries have been very enthusiastic about embracing NFTs and other digital assets, some have been more reluctant. In a recent interview, Anshul Rustaggi, the CEO of Totality Corp, touched on the stagnance of NFT growth in India and what might be causing it.
NFTs in India
On paper, India has all the makings of an NFT hub; It has a population of over a billion people, second only to China on the world stage and it is already a massive hub for tech development. But despite this, NFT adoption there has been slow and Rustaggi offers some clues as to why.
As he puts it, a lot of the reluctance among the Indian population to embrace NFTs stems from cultural stigmas. Investments relating to digital assets are seen as more akin to gambling than a legitimate business. Rustaggi even notes that when he worked as a hedge fund manager, his mother saw him as gambling with others’ money.
This sort of attitude, sadly, spills over to NFTs as well. In the eyes of the public, these sorts of assets are merely speculative (even though not all NFTs are speculative in nature).
“India has a very love and hate relationship with speculation. So all of Asia, including India loves speculation. But morally, we like to always say bad things about it,” he says.
One way that NFTs could find their footing within India is as a status symbol. A quick look at all the celebrities who regularly spend millions on Bored Apes and Mutant Apes will tell you that they are indeed a status symbol of sorts. But sadly, as Rustaggi explains, they haven’t quite caught on the same way in India.
More ‘traditional’ status symbols like luxury watches and expensive weddings are more socially accepted, though he does have hope that this might change. His company launched its own NFT project, called the Lakshmi NFT, last year and it was a success within India, bringing in over $561,000 in sales.
But Rustaggi is quick to note that a huge part of its appeal was the staking rewards in USDC that were advertised with the NFT. As such, many who bought into it did so because of the ‘interest’ they would be earning and not the speculative aspect of NFTs.
NFTs Around the World
NFT acceptance within India and in other parts of the world will have quite a way to go but there is hope on the horizon. While it might not be as fast as in other countries like the United States and parts of Europe, the industry and those within it continue to persevere.