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The best of ETtech Unwrapped in 2021

The best of ETtech Unwrapped in 2021
Written by publisher team

Happy 2022! Grab that cup and settle down as we look back at the best explanation, investigations, and analysis Unwrapped has weekly to your inbox on the crypto-crazed, IPO-crazed, and musky year that was 2021.

Coded tricks and k-pop fans


Members of the South Korean K-pop group BTS.

In February, we investigated a strange scam involving fans of K-pop group BTS, who call themselves ARMY. “What’s going on TF with ARMY Twitter…”, a BTS fan tweeted a few weeks ago. That tweet was part of a thread that revealed, in screenshot after screenshot, what I thought was a plot to hack into the internet space of fellow BTS fans – and then senselessly trick them with phishing attacks.

NFTs are the rage. Here’s why.

We first wrote about the non-fungible (NFT) tokens in late February, days before a Beeple-backed JPEG file sold for $69 million at a Christie’s auction, sparking a global frenzy. Fungi simply means interchangeable. Thus, NFTs are a type of crypto-asset where each token is unique. This makes them useless as currency, but very useful as incorruptible original certificates of, well, anything.

Zomato . IPO Playbook


Co-founder and CEO of Zomato Deepinder Goyal

After a hugely successful initial public offering, Zomato made its debut on Dalal Street on July 23. After the stock closed at Rs 125.85 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 65.59% above the issue price, we took a closer look at Zomato’s IPO history and what helped make the food delivery company’s menu so successful.

Beware the e-commerce seller

In mid-August, the Supreme Court said an investigation by the Indian competition regulator into the business practices of Amazon and Flipkart could go ahead. A few hours later, Amazon announced that it would discontinue its joint venture with Catamaran Ventures next May. We dived into this issue to understand why Amazon decided to pull the plug on the partnership.

Crypto ETFs Explained

There was a lot of buzz around exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in October, amid reports and rumors that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to approve the launch of one or more Bitcoin ETFs. We dived into EFT – specifically, exchange-traded funds – to explain why this has been called a “watershed moment” in the cryptocurrency industry.

Diwali Bonus for Stock Exchanges and Startup IPOs

At the end of October, we brought you the inside information about three major IPOs of startups that followed Zomato – those of Nykaa, Policybazaar and Paytm. While the performance of the first two exceeded expectations, Paytm’s initial public offering – the largest in Indian corporate history – turned out to be idle.

NFTs and their uses outside of art


In November, the NFT craze reached new heights as a host of celebrities – from Eminen and Paris Hilton to Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan – launched their own NFT-powered digital holdings. But NFTs can be used for much more than just certifying digital art pieces and collectibles, we wrote. In fact, using only NFTs for these things is equivalent to using the Internet only to send email.

India at the crossroads of encryption

In early December, when rumors swirled that the government would introduce a crypto bill into parliament’s winter session, we were told that it was also looking to amend income tax and disclosure rules to include terms like cryptocurrency.

“There is a recommendation to add the words cryptocurrency, crypto-asset or digital currency in some parts of the income tax law,” one person said. “This means that those who file tax returns will have to specifically disclose their income from investing or trading cryptocurrency,” a person familiar with the development told us.

Twelve times Elon Musk moved the markets in 2021

Elon Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk

On December 10, Elon Musk tweeted that he is considering quitting his “jobs” and becoming a full-time influencer. Of course he was joking, thank God for that. Because even as a part-time influencer, the richest person in the world has been able to move the markets at least once a month for the past year.

Great stories for our reporters

Reliance Retail invests $200 million in Donzo for 25.8% stake

Kabeer Biswas and Mukesh Ambani

Dunzo CEO Kabir Biswas and RIL President Mukesh Ambani

Reliance Retail Ventures Limited is investing $200 million in Donzo for a 25.8% stake, making the company led by billionaire Mukesh Ambani the largest single shareholder in the fast-trading startup.

Read also: dump the Reliance-Dunzo deal; Livspace turns into a unicorn

  • This is significant as it marks the entry of India’s largest offline retailer into the so-called ‘fast commerce’ space, which is busier than ever.

Dunzo has been in stock sale talks with several suitors, including the Tata Group, which is working to expand its e-commerce exponentially. The talks failed because the startup Hyperlocal was unwilling to cede control to the conglomerate.

Now, RIL stepped in.

“The idea was to be able to work with a long-term partner in the business. We want to stay as an independent entity and be able to find a way to make it public,” Kabir Biswas, founder of Dunzo, told ET, adding that the Reliance team was “supportive.” Too much for these ideas.

According to Biswas, Dunzo plans an initial public offering in the next three years. Both new and existing investors agree with the thought process.

The Big Interview: Flipkart CEO, Kalyan Krishnamurthy

CEO of Flipkart

Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy

CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy told us in an exclusive interview that Flipkart will be expanding its vertical segments like grocery and local deliveries and its value-focused platform Shopsy, having invested in these areas over the past year or so.

  • The Walmart-owned company will double those bets and move forward in healthcare and travel, where it made strategic investments last year, rather than diversifying further this year.

Regarding the company’s IPO plan, which ET said is planned this year, Krishnamurthy said, “We have not had a discussion with the company’s board of directors regarding the IPO yet and are not ready to share a specific timeline.”

From the world of coding


IndiaTech asks FM for clarification on crypto taxes: IndiaTech, an industry association representing tech startups, has written to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, asking her to set specific rules for taxing crypto assets in an upcoming budget letter.

In its letter, parts of which were reviewed by ETtech, IndiaTech asked the government to further amend existing laws and suggested that crypto assets be officially named in tax laws. It also sought to clarify the method of taxation and the required disclosures.

“The budget should ideally provide coherent rules on direct taxation and the GST board should detail the applicability of taxation otherwise there will be confusion. Basically, the line of thinking is that we should not wait for a bill on our own and the budget process should start,” Ramesh Kailasam said, President and CEO of IndiaTech, ETtech.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) probe may represent a precedent for taxing cryptography: Even as the Indirect Tax Administration has begun investigating several cryptocurrency exchanges to evade GST liability, it may also have set a precedent around classifying crypto assets for tax.

What awaits India in the cryptocurrency space in 2022? Increased interest from investors – both risk and retail – has made 2021 the year of cryptocurrency in India, just like the rest of the world. It also prompted regulators to take notes.

The government included a crypto bill for consideration in both the budget and the winter sessions of Parliament last year, but decided not to bring it up both times. Now that the budget session is approaching, India’s nascent cryptocurrency industry is closely watching developments.

Web3 tools to take center stage in 2022: Web3, which promises to empower creators and reduce dependence on large social media platforms, may start to become a reality in 2022. This is because Indian content creators are determined to embrace blockchain-based tools as they race to develop their own brands and find alternative ways of making money, The experts told us.

E-Commerce Choices

Amazon Flipkart

What will Indian e-commerce look like in 2022: Younger, smarter players are challenging the dominant companies owned by Walmart and Amazon India owned Flipkart in the Indian e-commerce world. The new kids in the block are expanding deeper into the country for internet users and pushing them to make transactions online, opening up new horizons for the industry.

Amazon market unit grows 49% in fiscal year 21: Amazon Seller Services, which manages the Amazon India marketplace, reported revenue from operations of Rs 16,200 crore in FY21, up 49% from Rs 10,847.6 crore in FY 2020. Losses settled at Rs 4,748 crore, down from 5,849 crore. Rs in fiscal year 2020. The figures were obtained by business intelligence platform Tofler.

Flipkart India Units Delivers Strong Revenue Growth: Two major units of Flipkart India – Flipkart India and Flipkart Internet – reported 25% and 32% growth in revenue from operations in fiscal year 21, respectively, according to regulatory filings obtained from business intelligence platform Tofler. The first is the wholesale unit and the second is the market arm.

A wave of orders coming in 2021 for Swiggy, Zomato

Deepinder Goyal and Sriharsha Majti

Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal and CEO Swiggy Sriharsha Majety

Online food delivery platforms Swiggy and Zomato had their highest sales volumes on New Year’s Eve 2021, as people stayed home due to an increase in Covid-19 cases.

Zomato said it posted more than Rs 100 crore in gross merchandise value (GMV) compared to the Rs 75 crore it held last year on Dec. 31. Arch-rival Swiggy said delivered orders grew 62%, while GMV was up 61% on Friday, versus last year.

Ola Electric start-up problems land on the doors of FADA

First Electric

The alleged mismatch in sales figures for Ola Electric scooters is worrying the head of a national car dealership lobby. And a host of customer complaints hitting his doorstep simply add to the EV’s starting teething problems.

According to the Department of Road Transportation and Highway’s VAHAN dashboard, which maintains real-time vehicle registration data, a total of 439 Ola Electric motorcycles have been registered as of Thursday morning. That compares with 4,000 transmissions the company claimed to have made in December.

KKR & Co. is preparing. To make Livspace just a rhino horn


KKR & Co. conducts Advanced talks to lead a $200 million funding round in Livspace in what will be the largest fundraising by a home interior solutions company since its inception.

  • While it is likely that $175-180 million will come from the major New York private equity firm, existing investors are also looking to participate. After the investment, KKR and TPG Growth will be the company’s largest investors.

Once the deal is approved, the company’s valuation will double above what it currently is to $1.3 billion – making the Bengaluru-based startup the latest entrant in the coveted Indian unicorn club. An official announcement is likely in the coming days.

Ex-Myntra CEO Project Could Soon Be Worth $100 Million

Former CEO of Myntra Amar Nagaram

Former CEO of Myntra Amar Nagaram

An all-new startup is in talks with investors like Falcon Edge and Accel Partners to raise $25-30 million in its first $100 million funding round, several sources tell us.

The company, which was founded by former Myntra CEO Amar Nagaram, does not have a name yet. If the $100 million deal goes through, it will be among the most valuable startups in the ideas stage ever.

Startups introduce new HR strategies for youth employment

Employees at Meesho can now take two days of “Celebration Vacation” to take a new car for a ride, move to a new home, or another landmark. InMobi introduced an automatically approved, no-questions-asked leave policy that employees can use at any time.

These startups, and others like Innovaccer, Licious, and Instamojo, are dropping one-size-fits-all HR policies into tailored policies for the new era as they look for ways to better interact with their young employees in a global work-from-home.

That’s it for us this week. Stay safe and get that punch.


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