Cryptocurrencies, unicorns, decacorns, IPOs, super apps, data breaches have become part of the conversation at trade shows in 2021 – a year when India’s digital economy has exploded.
The year saw legacy conglomerates like Tata and Reliance aggressively expand into the digital space with a number of acquisitions and launches under the Tata Digital and Jio platforms, respectively.
Several important pending bills and policies relating to data protection, cryptocurrencies, e-commerce and social media intermediaries have been accelerated. Much of this has been driven by unprecedented digital adoption of payments, e-commerce, social media, healthcare, education, remote working, and every other possible utility. In 2022, the digital economy will continue to rise, propelled by the frenzy of listing of Internet start-ups towards the end of 2021. The listings have reinforced investor confidence in the space of the Internet economy.
Rameesh Kailasam, CEO of IndiaTech.Org, said Activity area, “The last three years of our efforts with SEBI and the government finally took shape in 2021 with the listing of Indian start-ups in India. Two years ago, we predicted that once this was triggered, we would see an exponential increase from an average inflow of funds of $ 8 billion to $ 10 billion in start-ups to a range of 30-40. billion dollars, as we are seeing now. ”
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Sijo Kuruvilla George, Executive Director of the Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), said: “With more cash in hand, the founders are making more aggressive bets in terms of acquisitions. The ambitions and convictions of the new generation of founders are much more daring and more global ”,
George believes that by 2022 India could overtake China in terms of aggregate unicorns.
“Quarter to quarter, we are already neck and neck with China for the addition of new unicorns and will soon exceed their total number,” he said.
Even though the digital economy has accelerated, regulations have arrived and we will likely see more rules governing the space. But the overlaps are a matter of concern, and experts say they need to be streamlined. The bill focused on the protection of “personal” data now includes social network intermediaries, which could also fall under the new IT rules.
A similar overlap will be seen when the new e-commerce rules come into play. A saving grace will be that businesses will have at least two years to implement and comply with data protection regulations.
“You would like to get synchronization on how you regulate the different streams of the tech economy. For e-commerce, there must be a separate policy. Likewise, for data and intermediaries, separate invoices must govern them. Do not regulate intermediaries under the PDP bill. Do not regulate e-commerce markets and sales under the Consumer Protection Act. The consumer protection law is all about consumer protection and nothing more, ”said Kazim Rizvi, founding director of The Dialogue. Activity area.
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Rizvi expects the data protection bill to be enacted in 2022.
“We largely expect a year of building and implementing the system. This will be the start of the compliance journey for a multitude of processors and trustees, ranging from SMEs to government itself, ”he said.
Battle of the app ecosystem
Google Play and Apple App Store are currently under the control of the Competition Commission of India (ICC), to charge 15-30% commission on the integrated sale of digital goods and services, while mandating the use of the one of their Payment Gateways. App developers have no choice but to choose a different payment gateway that would charge around 1.5-5% commission in comparison.
2022 will be an important year for app stores, especially Google Play, which has extended its deadline for implementing new policies and fees to October 31, 2022.
Murugavel Janakiraman, Founder and CEO of Matrimony.com, said Activity area that nearly 90% of interactions on its matchmaking platform occur through mobile phone applications.
“We are already paying a lot to promote our apps on the Play Store. Globally, governments have started to take notice of their anti-competitive practices.
In the long term, they need to be regulated by the government, because today the entire application ecosystem is controlled by two actors, ”he said.
Cryptocurrencies are also likely to see more regulatory action. After several discussions with various stakeholders, the government decided to draft and finalize the bill more carefully, pushing the conversation to the budget session. Meanwhile, an ever-growing interest in the crypto space – which has seen two unicorns emerge this year – will have more use cases to invest in.
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“Even though it continues to grow as an asset class, the true potential of crypto is much more than that. We are already seeing the first signs of this globally and in India as more industries including banking, healthcare and agriculture embrace blockchain, the technology that enables cryptocurrencies, ” Ashish Singhal, Founder and CEO of CoinSwitch Kuber, and Co-Chair of Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC), said.