Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has delivered a virtual keynote speech at the inaugural Sydney Dialogue summit on emerging technology, and is urging governments, with caution, to cooperate on a crypto-focused strategy.

Representatives from the governments of Japan and Australia are also set to speak at the event, as well as experts from global science and technology institutes, universities, policy boards and companies including Google, Meta and Twitter.

Guess you could say it’s kind of a big deal, then – but not a crypto hoodie in sight.

Prime Minister Modi’s address is well worth watching (see further below) to get a good, complete picture of his nation’s strong technological focus in a rapidly changing world.

Although if you don’t have time, this much quicker speech also sums up the sentiment… albeit in a less comprehensive and far-less eloquent way…

… and with more of a US high school football focus.

“Friends, we are in a time of change that happens once in an era,” began Prime Minister Modi. “The digital age is changing everything around us. It has redefined politics, economy and society.”

Modi went on to discuss the opportunities that emerging technologies, including cryptocurrencies, can bring to global societies, but also the inherent risks they carry as well.

He said the world is at a “historic moment of choice” when it is unclear whether emerging technology will be used for “cooperation or conflict, coercion or choice, domination or development, oppression or opportunity”, adding that democracies in the Indo-Pacific region “hear the call of our times”.

He urged governments, including Australia’s, to cooperate to figure out ways to protect national interests while fostering innovation.


In the wrong hands, crypto ‘can spoil our youth’

Here are some other pertinent nuggets from Modi’s most excellent speech…

• “India has the world’s third-largest and fastest-growing startup ecosystem. New unicorns are coming up every few weeks.”

• “India’s industry and services sectors, even agriculture, are  undergoing massive digital transformation.”

• “The greatest product of technology today is data.”

• “Take cryptocurrency or Bitcoin, for example…” [Not financial advice.] “It is important that all democratic nations work together on this… and ensure it does not end up in wrong hands, which can spoil our youth.”

• “Be excellent to each other… and party on, dudes!” Hang on, sorry… that was Abraham Lincoln.


India set to give crypto investing the green light

As a footnote, and an important one at that, India’s government is currently in the process of working out a much-needed, highly anticipated bill for the regulation of cryptocurrencies in the densely populated and tech-focused nation.

The bill reportedly sets out the path for the acceptance of crypto investing and holding of digital assets in the country, as reported by the Economic Times yesterday.

However, the bill is also set to place a ban on the usage of crypto as a payment and settling transactions as well as a ban on crypto exchanges actively soliciting customers, as reported by CoinDesk.

So, it’s not exactly El Salvador’s legal tender move or the Commonwealth Bank’s crypto adoption, or The Perth Heat baseball Bitcoin Standard… but for a country of India’s size and influence, and one that has considered banning crypto outright more than once over the past few years… this potential compromise is an overall win.

It’s been an amazing year in crypto, really. What next? Jeez… imagine if someone influential at the Reserve Bank of Australia said they’ve been HODLing Bitcoin since 2014 or something?