Read this news today and was very surprised by the details. The company in the news is GoSats. It is a bitcoin rewards platform that offers debit cards, gift cards, and more. They have apps on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store. It is an Indian company that I think only has a presence in India so far.
The card looks slick. The newly launched card from the company is in partnership with NPCI, or National Payments Corporation of India -
an umbrella organization for operating retail payments and settlement systems under the ownership of the Reserve Bank of India in India. Source
The news is surprising because RBI hasn't been too favourable as far as cryptocurrencies are concerned. It has earlier banned Bitcoin and cryptocurrency transactions in the country and later asked the banks to ensure Bitcoin transactions adhere to onerous regulations. One of India's crypto exchanges was later put under investigation of a regulatory violation and banks have been warning customers about crypto. In fact, some have also ended support for crypto companies.
Now a debit card company, GoSats is partnering with NCPI to launch a Bitcoin rewards card. The good thing is that this lends some form of legitimacy to the cryptocurrency space in India. The reason why such an initiative can be backed by a central body, I guess, is that consumers aren't immediately at the risk of gaining exposure to a volatile asset, nor does it lead to the transfer of money away from the banking system. The other positive aspect is that this is positive, free marketing for Bitcoin in India, which I believe is still an underpenetrated market. Moreover, NCPI's involvement gives confidence to potential new users and buyers of cryptocurrency in India and I think it will surely have a positive impact on the Indian crypto space.
With those positives in mind, I still think, the overall situation is quite confusing, given RBI's apprehensive approach towards Bitcoin and NCPI's bold partnership with GoSats. Whatever happens, I hope, the new upcoming bill on cryptocurrencies paves the way for thriving crypto industry in India.