Nischal Shetty is the founder and CEO of WazirX India's largest Cryptocurrency currency exchange. He also co-founded crowdfire social media engagement product with over 20 million Global users. A software engineer by degree, Nischal has been featured in "Forbes India 30 under 30" list in past. He is also a blockchain influencer on Twitter and creator of #IndiaWantsCrypto campaign urging the government officials to bring positive crypto regulation in India. Welcome Nischal on Opentalk. Thanks for having me on the Opentalk, Sumit. I'm glad to be here. Alright, great. So Nishchal, like we, lot people keep talking about Bitcoin these days and I want to understand from you. Can you explain Bitcoin for a common man? Yeah, that's a good question to start with see the thing is If you look around there are like different definitions that come up when you ask what is bitcoin. But when I look at it from a common man, what should it be we can go to the first layer first is whats the internet. Internet is what helps you transfer information from, you know, your computer probably to another person's computer easy. When Bitcoin was created Whole mission was that similar to internet transferring information can be also transfer value from your computer. Let's say to someone else. So that's what Bitcoin is all about. It's just a peer-to-peer way for transferring value from one person to the other over the internet and you know, when it started it started with that today, there are like hundreds of things that you could do using this very concept of transferring value or the internet. Now, you know, do you have any anything any questions or something on this the small definition of the toilet make sense? It is kind of like eCommerce you're talking about buying stuff online think this is kind of a digital currency in some way or other right? Yeah. See the thing is up until today if let's say now you and me you wanted to send me, you know, ten rupees the only way you can send that over the internet today is true. Third party where your bank has to be involved it cannot be that you can send me money directly but in the offline mode, if you wanted to give me ten rupees you could just remove your cash and give it hand it over to me right there is no Bank in between which is facilitating this transform. So on the internet, how do you replicate something that was have that is already happening in the offline World, which is Cash where you know, two people just transact between each other. That is what Bitcoin is all about. controlling the flow of that money. You just send it directly to me the way you can send a message to me today without it going through a third party, you know requirement. So that's what Bitcoin is all about. It's just peer to peer directly from one person to the other on the internet and if you think about it, this was never possible before Bitcoin came because the only way people could send money or value to anyone was through a third party for an intermediary bank for that matter Bitcoin just changed. Will game saying that why do you need a third party in between when two people want to transfer values, but they should be able to do it amongst themselves. All right, but then who keeps a record, for example, if I give you a 10 Rupees note, it's kind of a promissory note rights which Indian government gives to the to the citizens and saying that hey you can use this currency to transfer value in this case who is actually keeping the record of this currency. Yeah, that's a good question. So the in the case of Fiat money like INR what you just said, is that so Central Bank which keeps a record and the bank is the one that controls us. In Bitcoin this whole concept is about decentralization. Meaning there's never one entity, but there are multiple entities that can join the network and keep a record. So instead of one person or one entity having, you know, all the records Financial records out here that can be a hundred or thousand or ten thousand entities that together keep the same record and there is no entry or like entry barrier if today you decide submit decides that he wants to participate in this whole record keeping you can participate So anyone is open there's no one you need to take permission from it's just that more people keeping records the better because more decentralized the sap entire application becomes so it's a decentralized way where records are care. So it sounds very empowering and it's like too good to believe kind of a concept for a common man. And do you think that this like does it get very scary as a concept because people have grown up with the idea of having a real currency. See in hand and somebody like a Big Daddy's of the world like either the government or the banks and stuff like that taking care of it obviously in the case. Sometimes is big big governing bodies. Also go bankrupt and then it sees we see the economic getting crashdown, right? How do you think that a common man can actually relate to this concept? How do you make it as a concept which is which is selling confidence and trust and not sounding like something too good to believe no, I See, I think you know the reason why we are all probably be see it as scary like you know in a way is because we are not used to this kind of a world. We're used to having, you know money in the hands of our governments or a central banks and just using that but let's go a bit back what has the internet done is always transferring power into the hands of the people today what you see like what we me and you are doing today. We are just on our own hosting a Show online which Anyone anywhere in the world can listen to this was never the case before the internet or take the case of news today anyone in the world can publish news on their own? They don't need to be part of a News website. They don't need to be a journalist as such, you know, same with bloggers same with a lot of things that have happened what has happened with the Internet is power has gone to the hands of the people the common people now what Bitcoin is saying is the same concept should happen in terms of money as well money the power tool may be, you know running. It or to use it hold it or do whatever you want should be in the hands of the people not just the government or the central bank. And I think it's a very powerful concept. It's it's unsettling but that's what disruption is all about and internet has always been about the whole disruptive Force. So I think it'd be interesting to see how this pans out. I'm a proponent that power in the hands of many distributed is better than power in the hands of a few concentrated. For it. That's what got me into this whole, you know crypto ecosystem because when I look at the world other without crypto, it's a world which is concentrated in terms of power and the world of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is all about decentralization, you know, you transfer power to the people that's a great motivator for me to be in this space to be honest. No, I think I am very getting very excited about this whole piece. What you said is transferring the power to the people light. It's like we talked about Our democracy as a as a means of government running a country and we have seen that whenever the setup is where the people are empowered. They kind of the setup is always the best setup. Right? So it looks like a democratic way of money transferring right you talking about? There's no one guy who's holding the power the power is in the network and somebody like blockchain. As you said, he's kind of documenting the whole Ledger and making sure that the summer He's keeping a the record is not centralized decentralized. All right. Okay is my understanding correct? I'm a common man. I'm telling you what I'm hearing from you, you know, I'm happy to hear that. You know, that's that's the right way to put it across you put on beautifully but let's say tomorrow something happens. I don't see a Bitcoin in my account. So this has helped you understand. How do I get an account? Like how do you start doing trading in Bitcoin or buy Bitcoin? How does it happen? Yeah. So, you know, this is where again it's still completely different. So the the concept of the Soul Bitcoin is it's a distributed Ledger and there's no such thing as actually they're being a Bitcoin. There's nothing like a Bitcoin Bitcoin on the network. You know, it's just virtual all that exists on the distributed Ledger is information that you hold some amount of Bitcoins. So let's say today you want to start joining the network. All you have to do is create a public key and you know, it's a so graphically, you know created a key which has a private key and a public this public key is visible to everyone and that becomes your address when you start you start with no money in that no Bitcoins and that you start with zero now this the way to create a public key. It's open for everyone to know how to create it. So everyone anyone anywhere can create a public key with on their own. I mean you can just use some software technically. You can even do it without internet offline on your own to create a public key. And your public key is shareable. Your private key is something that you have to keep only with yourself because that's like a password and when I say key, let me make it more non-technical think of it as like a alpha numeric address like, you know abc123 that's going to be your public key and maybe XYZ is your private key that your password. So you keep your private key to yourself this abc123. Now, let's say I have some Bitcoin and you have created this public key. You just tell me that you know initial. Can you transfer maybe not I'm a bit of Bitcoin to me and you give me your public abc123. What I will do is since I already have Bitcoin I'll I'll transfer maybe you know .001 bit TC to your address abc123. So and this for this I don't need you or anything. I just do it because I have my own, you know Bitcoins on the Bitcoin Network what the Bitcoin network doesn't it broadcasts it this information saying initials initial has transferred 0.01 BTC to sue me. And that record is kept on the public blockchain. Now, since you have the private key of your wallet, you are able to change this record. Meaning you can change now transfer that BTC to anyone else you want and that's all this whole BTC is about it is just a ledger but there's information about who transfers how much BTC to someone else and if you have access to the public private key, which is your password you can change that record. Which belongs to you. Did I make sense. Yeah. It made sense and I think you kind of really explain in a terms of common man, but then it gives me some questions. So where do I actually go and put this public key and private key. And as you said not technically speaking if I don't use software and all that we're going to go and just do that. No, so, you know, there are these our wallets Bitcoin wallets, which anyone can create without any permission, you know, think of this is your company can use that also, So be bulk of little different. You know, what I explained to you is like the ground level of how do you create a Bitcoin wallet? And how do you access your private key, but the problem with that is it's a little technical because you'll need to you know, get a wallet and do all these things what we did with let's say was here x is you just sign up with your username and password the traditional way where you sign up on any other website and we will automatically do this whole process of creating a private-public internally and for It'll just be a password and username you sign in and then you can buy Bitcoin and we will handle the entire wallet part of is so as a as a common man. You don't have to worry about all this wallet stuff. Unless you really want to get deep into you know, how do you handle your own wallets and stuff be extracted for you right now God. It's like a net banking kind of interface right? I don't have to worry about how does HDFC take care of my money or where do they keep it? It's just that I log in and I had to transaction of transferring Bitcoin or or accepting Bitcoins. Exactly. Exactly. The only problem is in the case of sgfc. You can never ever owned that money till they don't want you to own it. You can never just easily just you know, get it out and it's difficult because you have to store it on your way out here in the case of Bitcoin. If you want tomorrow, you can just remove all of that Beacon and just keep it with you you meaning only you nobody else has access to it. None of your banks. No one so that's the difference out here. Great. And then how are we going to take questions now, or are we going to take questions later? I can just see a couple of questions here. Yeah. I think we have what if I lose as many Chinese asking what if I lose my private key is so good. So then your Bitcoins the last forever because the whole you know, the whole security of crypto is such that there is no way you can ever give someone private key. I mean, you know not with the current technology that we have you can never guess. The private key of a puppy that's the security of Bitcoin. So if you lose it, you know, no one can help you your money is lost. Your Bitcoin is all which is why people use third-party products like was erection all which act as custodians. I think that's a whole idea of private key right professional team to gets it exactly right, right. But yeah, as you said right for common man, who's probably not so technical he would not be able to understand and he would probably it's like there's a thin line between making sure that And forget it and then making sure you don't lose it and you don't share it. So yeah, so that's the reason you're saying that platform like yours they help you or like any custodian for that matter help the user use interface known technically and that's the avoiding to expose private key to anybody else. Yes. Yes. I'm in we take care of all of those, you know the back end for you you for you it's a traditional way of username password. If you forget your password, you can reset it and you do that stuff. Got it. At least one more question from Rahul. It says, how can we make Common Man responsible in their use of crypto? That's very up to see you know, II don't think it's going to be like a easy problem to solve because you know today when there is news. That is also fake means and how can you stop that? There's a lot of things you can do like as a and this is where my whole India wants crypto campaign also comes in the picture where the government is afraid about the negative use cases of crypto, you know, because many give such power to the people there will always be negative use cases like that. So I think I think ground rules being set by the government. In terms of you know kyc and AML policy is being applied by custodians like us where the entry and the exit Point happens for. You know, you as a user I think if they impose these certain restrictions and regulations on crypto company. I think we would solve like he's 80% 85% of the negative use cases that can probably emerge from crypto. All right. Well, let's talk about that big. So interesting point. Let's talk about India stand on Krypto. For Indian, how can somebody even to anything in crypto? What is bottle is allowed? And what is not allowed? Yeah, that's a very good question and it's a very confusing subject in India right now where I keep getting questions from people saying it's illegal to trade. What do I do? It's illegal to hold. So here's the thing. The Indian government is completely neutral right now. They have not said that crypto is illegal. They have not said crypto is league and Of the Innovative nature of crypto. There's nothing in the law that states what to do with it. Okay. So it's a it's a very in-between stage because that's how technology is Right till it's like who berrendo lat they just walked between the cracks of all regulations. That's how crypto seems to be today. But what can you do and what can you not do so the only government-related body that has come up with something was the RBI? Where they said that none of the banks should deal with crypto related businesses. So as a crypto exchange today, we do not have a bank account in India. We cannot accept money from people because we are not allowed to according to our PI, but RBI does not set the rules for the people of the content like for you and me. All that. RBI can do is set rules for the banks that it governs. So as an individual you can buy crypto. It's perfectly legal. You can hold it in your own wallets. They can even you can trade cryptocurrencies you can do, you know, whatever you want with crypto to be honest because there's nothing illegal about it because there's no law against it in India, but yeah banking is an issue which is why it was he likes we brought this peer-to-peer way of transferring cryptocurrency. Like if you want to sell it to me, I can directly transfer the money to your bank account. I don't need an exchange bank account in between anyways, so that was the thing that we did differently atmospherics even without having a bank account. We facilitate People to buy and sell Couture using their eye on it only when you're trying to load money in the wallet or probably Cash Out Bitcoin when the money is hitting the bank which is controlled by RBI. He was that certain policies are not tear their but when it comes to bitcoin transfer it is a completely out of the purview of the of RBI is it had saluted and yeah, exactly and that's why as an Indian you can own Bitcoin. You can sell it transfer it you can do whatever you want and If you make some money off of it to pay your income taxes, you're fine. There's no problem then. All right. Listen, let's talk about for a moment. Let's say Bitcoin does not exist today or let's say does not exist tomorrow by even required you talked about little bit, but I'm just trying to talk about the fear because every time something new comes people think that okay, let me not use it right now. Let it become mainstream and that becomes a chicken a column. So let's say if somebody is not using Bitcoin or less a the country somebody does not Use Bitcoin a country as a whole does not use Bitcoin. What are they losing? I could talk on this for like a week without stopping by I know I'll compress this. I'll give you some simple examples rather than you know, saying the by think about this today when you consume information, right? So Matthew me and even this talk that we are having it's not restricted by where we are, right anyone anywhere in this world be it someone in New York or someone in Mumbai or someone in Bihar can listen to this talk. And you know, what is happening is basically they can gain information from anywhere never happened before the Internet by the be because you're only Praxis II information was your local surrounding your geography now when it comes to money today, we are bound by this program. If you want to do any Commerce and stuff, you know amongst each other. The only way you can do is with your people around you no one else if you want to go Global your banks are going to stop you a country is going to stop you cannot do stuff. Why because Everyone's concerned about the negative you scales. There are capital controls in space. But because of crypto what happened is now my entire I would say the commercial aspect of human human beings today, which is bound by geography that whole geography barrier has been broken and one of the simplest use cases today. If you want to take a loan in India, you'll have to pay probably 10% interest but there is someone somewhere in the world who's getting a loan at one to two percent in Japan you get a loan a home loan for like 1% Why is this disparity? Because money cannot freely flow between geographies that disparity does not exist in in, you know in knowledge today because whatever knowledge you consume the same knowledge anyone anywhere in the world can consume but that disparity exists in the case of money and I believe that what Bitcoin has done is it has broken this barrier. We're in the future this Geographic disparity of money will be destroyed. I mean, it's already being destroyed. And I don't think that just because a country is poor or a country's Rich the citizens of that country. Their opportunities are limited by that access to Capital this access to Capital just now becomes Global, you know, so some smart entrepreneur in India will probably get access to Capital the same way some entrepreneur in Silicon Valley gets it we've seen it being broken through the whole we see stuff and all but the way this crypto is happening like ico's that happen, you know, there are scams and all because that's the first wave. It's always the scammers compose. But ideally the thing that I see of showed was that without any VC money without anyone people would find some other companies anywhere in the world. And that I think is the whole I don't know that was like the you know, you crazy moment for me when I realized that the way information has just become Global Capital will become Global because of Bitcoin. I think that's very very powerful. I think initially you explain it very nicely because as a common man, I can tell you that now it is telling very clearly that if Bitcoin does not happen like what are we losing and I can I can relate to it because in my college people used to get scared of internet and people effective there was a first wave which was running away from internet and saying that he could be very evil people can do fun stuff and it is it is probably taken a decade or two and now we talking about not like not leaving without Internet has become Like Oxygen you really feel a need of Internet when you don't have it. So exactly and I know and I think that's the reason why I'm fighting for the soul crypto in India because of what is happening is in the when you do not know about things you're afraid but once you know it you are, you know, embrace it and then you can't live without it and if India does not get into that now we will be very behind other countries. And what will happen is we lose this first wave of the old crypto Revolution that is happening globally. He did miss that in the first phase in terms of Technology. We were still pretty late as a country into Tech and product and stuff. But I don't I think today we are at that situation where we can actually be one of those first early movers are the country into crypto and probably, you know, I have an edge over other countries. Eventually. We have the talent we have the people. I think I think India is primed for this, you know jumping into this whole crypto Innovation, I would say it but The government needs to hear as out and probably work with us as an industry to make this happen in the country. Right so initially, I think AI it's great. We have come to the end of the talk. We will take few questions, which have come Nathan is asking how can somebody can upload money in the wallet because space app kind of applications does not provide support for you to add money to your wallet. How can somebody admitted to the wallet? No, so they they can begin they can use was here x where we do a peer-to-peer way. Like I said companies cannot really have bank account which is why on a product like wazir X we have a peer-to-peer week. So be connected to another person who wants to sell their Bitcoin maybe and you transfer the money to them. We transfer the Bitcoin to your was your ex wallet. It's like a beautiful three-party system. You know, we only touch the crypto we don't touch the iron, but we can all you can always transfer money to the other person. Card, I think - is talking about Bitcoin is banned in India. So - so you should listen to the open talk. We just talked about it and yeah, great the shell so it was great talking to you and I'm sure the topic is very big and it deserves not many open talk but idea was to keep it an introductory one first and really looking forward to talk to you again and open Talk. Yeah, and thanks for having me on this and I think what you're building with open talk is it's a very beautiful platform. I use the products and I think you've done a very good job of first version that is out. Let's let's get on another call maybe sometime soon for the second party will be fine, I guess. Yep Michelle. Thanks a lot for the kind words, and you are looking forward to talk to you again on opendoc. Have a good day. All right, so - yeah, you too. Bye.