Paytm Considers Bitcoin offerings if Crypto legalises in India


Paytm would consider bitcoin offerings if India authorities removed regulatory uncertainty surrounding the adoption of crypto currencies. The rules around these assets remain in a “grey area,” Chief Financial Officer Madhur Deora said in an interview to Bloomberg TV’s Haslinda Amin and Rishaad Salamat on Thursday.

“Bitcoin is still in a regulatory grey area if not a regulatory ban in India,” Deora said. “At the moment Paytm does not do bitcoin. If it was ever to become fully legal in the country then clearly there could be offerings we could launch.”

Since then, the government has considered the adoption of crypto legislation, but the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) remains highly critical and continues to advocate for its ban. Deora’s comments come as Paytm prepares for public subscriptions to its $2.5-billion initial public offering (IPO), after selling almost half to anchor investors. The listing is expected mid-November.

The country’s central bank had effectively banned cryptocurrency trading until the courts lifted the prohibitions in March 2020.

Paytm states that it has allocated shares worth $1.11 billion to more than 100 institutional investors, including the government of Singapore, ahead of what is expected to be India’s largest stock market listing.

Paytm’s offer garnered interest from 122 institutional investors who bought more than 38.3 million shares for ~2,150 apiece. BlackRock Global Funds, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority were among the investors.

Launched a decade ago as a platform for mobile recharging, Paytm grew quickly after ride-hailing firm Uber listed it as a quick payment option. Its use swelled further in 2016 when a ban on high-value currency bank notes in India boosted digital payments.

Paytm has since branched out into services including insurance and gold sales, movie and flight ticketing, and bank deposits and remittances. The company’s offering will open on Monday and top investor Ant Financial, with a 27.9 per cent stake in Paytm, plans to sell shares worth ~4,704 crore.

Several companies, including Paytm, have tapped capital markets this year in a fund-raising frenzy on the back of record highs hit by the Indian stock market, which has outperformed Asian peers so far this year.

Paytm’s IPO is likely to be the biggest in the country’s corporate history, breaking a record held by Coal India Ltd, which raised ~15,000 crore more than a decade earlier.