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NEW DELHI : Indian telecom and mobile services company OnMobile has announced the addition of crypto token payments on its online gaming platform Onmo. The company notified the new feature in a filing with the National Stock Exchange (NSE) earlier today.

Krish Seshadri, chief executive of Onmo, said that gamers “understand the value of virtual currencies" and are “well habituated" to using such tokens to buy virtual items. He further clarified that Bitcoin will be the “main payment method" that gamers would need to use while playing competitive titles on its online gaming platform Onmo.

“We will soon add other cryptocurrencies to the payment methods in the Onmo wallet," he added.

OnMobile is an Indian telecom and mobile services company that focuses primarily on online gaming. It claims to have over 80 million monthly users across its various competitive gaming products, which include Onmo and Challenges Arena. It also has other products such as Contests for online quizzes, and other gamified services.

To be sure, OnMobile has clarified that while Bitcoin will become the primary payment method for its online gaming platform, Indian users will need to continue paying in regular, fiat currency. India’s upcoming cryptocurrency regulation bill is expected to impose a clear ban on the usage of cryptocurrency tokens, such as Bitcoin or Ether, as a currency for purchasing or selling of any item.

While a crypto bill is awaited from the government in India as of now, Indian products and services largely do not accept crypto as legal tender. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has reiterated, on multiple occasions, that cryptocurrencies aren’t legal tender in the country. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has also been working on a central bank digital currency (CBDC), which will be a digital version of the rupee.

Crypto exchanges operating in India have also taken a hit over the past month, after the government’s recently announced crypto taxes became operational. In February, Sitharaman had announced a 30% tax on capital gains from crypto trading, and an additional 1% tax deduction at source (TDS) for those selling cryptocurrencies. On April 1, crypto research firm Crebaco noted a 72% drop in trading volumes on WazirX, the largest crypto exchange by volume in India. Other exchanges, including Zebpay and CoinDCX also recorded 52% and 59% drops, respectively.

Exchanges have also run into trouble after disabling payments using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) platform. American crypto giant Coinbase, launched in India on April 9, allowed users to make payments on the platform using UPI. In turn, the NPCI issued a statement saying it was “not aware of any crypto exchange using UPI".

The use of crypto tokens, however, is becoming relatively common in the gaming sector nowadays. Many blockchain games, such as Decentraland or The Sandbox, deploy their own tokens that become the official in-game currency – and are also listed across crypto exchanges to be traded.

Onmo, however, is not a blockchain gaming platform per se – but is deploying Bitcoin as one of its payment methods instead of using a proprietary token. Large gaming firms, like French giant Ubisoft have also dabbled in the space, by launching non-fungible tokens (NFTs) around their games.

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