The New Generation : Interview with Ashim Sood ②

Now, this the second part of Ashim Sood’s interview where he is talking about India’s fearless millennials compared to the little-more-risk-fearing older generation. This is a generation that finally can work on the global front just like any other country. Economic ups and downs are also a part of the situation, however there is more than 1 conventional way of looking at it. See what Ashim has to contribute to this.

Ashim Sood

Interview Date :12th March 2020

The New Generation brings a new Element of Fearlessness

If I was to be a little philosophical about it, I think fundamentally the new generation will bring a new element of fearlessness and innovation to this country. These are young people who have much less to lose, and they live life differently from the previous generations. They look at something and they see a possibility, that even a generation like mine, I am 40 now, would say that people in around our generation look at something new, and they first consider the risks. So, on one end, there is a generation that considers possibilities, and on the other end, there is a generation that considers risk.

One of the things that I told the court was “like any new technology, we don’t understand this technology, but our lack of understanding should not be a reason to shut it down” Every technology takes a life of its own, and in 10 years from now blockchain technology or cryptocurrency could be something very different from what we know it to be right now. I think that there is this young generation who sees these possibilities, so even when they do not see the part ahead clearly, it wants to take risks. I think genuinely to improve the life of others and their own lives, and to see how far we can go with technology. And this is true whether its cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence, or any other invention. India has that spirit, and we are a very young country; over 50% of the population is under the age of 30. So there are many young people with dreams whose parents have grown up in more moderate circumstances. This is the first generation that is interacting with the world openly with full access to all the possibilities that the world has to offer, and they are taking their chances.

There is Excitement but there’s also some Caution

I have already burnt my finger with crypto in the past and I haven’t really invested in anything again after that. So, I haven’t been following the price of bitcoin the last one week, but I have been contacted by a lot of people and it seems to me that there’s a lot of positive sentiment. In the last week, I have been contacted by at least 2 or 3 groups of  people from the US, and some more from India, and these are start-ups; these people who want to start up a crypto exchange or crypto related businesses, and they say they want to come to India and they want to start. So there is a lot of excitement. I think there is a sense of caution, because even though this ban has been lifted doesn’t mean that it can prevent a new ban in a different form. This was a ban by the Reserve Bank of India. However, the government of India itself has been contemplating a lot to ban cryptocurrency. It’s possible that the government may say that instead of banning it, it could be regulated instead due to this time’s judgment. Nevertheless, it’s also possible that the government will react and say “look we don’t like the fact that the Reserve Bank ban is gone, and we want to come back and ban it” So, there is excitement but there’s also some caution.

Single out Crypto for Economic fall is not Correct

I think there were 2 reasons for the financial fall this February to March. One was because of the Corona virus, and the other was the sudden oil price cut putting the market in a chaotic state. But I think that we are at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what will happen in the next few months. India has suspended all visas issued to everyone in the world, except for diplomats and a few other categories. That means that airlines, hotels, and the domestic tourist industry will wake up today to find that essentially the fittest will survive, and many will not survive in the next 2 or 3 month. What that does to our economy I can’t tell, but all I can say is that these are people who are connected to the fiat economy; they are going to suffer severe shocks, and that’s just the way the world is in the era of globalization: we are all vulnerable, though some more vulnerable sections need more support than others. 

Hypothetically, if this shutdown would continue, it will be catastrophic for the economy. We are talking about a complete shutdown of small retail businesses, and essentially they are the ones who are most affected in India. I think Japan has seen a big rise in tourism as a source of revenue in the recent years, and the Tokyo Olympics is something that a lot of people have invested a lot of money in. Many businesses have invested a lot in order to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics as well. If this market fall does not recover soon, it would be catastrophic, because a lot of businesses start from airlines. If airlines shut down, all their supporting businesses, and hotels will shut down, and there certainly will be unemployment.

There will be ups and there will be downs, but to single out cryptocurrency as being a reason for those ups and downs, or to say that people who invest in cryptocurrency are more vulnerable to those ups and downs is probably not a mature approach. You have to look at it as any other investable commodity. So, like any other investable commodity, in the long run, I think that cryptocurrency will hopefully become a commodity like gold that will become a model and standard commodity whose price will fluctuate, and it will be looked upon as a storage of value all around the world. Crypto prices will go up and down, but with time, the volatility will reduce because the more it becomes integrated with the financial system, the more normalized its price cycles will be. In the end, I think both for the fiat economy and  the crypto economy there is a long way to go, but there will come a time when they will integrate, and sink and swim in the same way.  At the same time, we should consider mitigating risks to retail consumers who are not sophisticated and who could get carried away: the same way this is done for stocks, by regulating brokers, and putting warnings etc.

Stock markets are already crashing, and I think that’s going to be the same situation whether its in India, Japan or anywhere else. I think that it will take years to recover from something like this. In that sense, the lesson we can learn from a cryptocurrency point of view is that the world economy can be decimated without the involvement of cryptocurrency. So, to suggest that cryptocurrency can be a reason, I am not sure if that’s entirely correct to say. However, I am very fearful for the coming days, I think that we all will be affected in some way or another. I wish everyone a safe landing on the other side of this crisis.


Ashim Sood has significant experience in appearing as counsel for litigants in claims and defences in courts and arbitral tribunals in India as well as internationally. His expertise lies in representation before the Supreme Court; writs and original side litigation before state High Courts, and shareholder and commercial disputes before arbitral tribunals and the National Company Law (including Appellate) Tribunal. In 2013, the Singapore International Arbitration Academy awarded Ashim an “Excellence in Advocacy” award. Ashim was also awarded the prestigious HM Seervai Medal in Constitutional Law. He is qualified to practice in India and California.

Ashim Sood

Interviewer , Editor : Lina Kamada



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