Easynomics with Siddharth Zarabi

Easynomics with Siddharth Zarabi

Siddharth Zarabi In Conversation With ftcash's Deepak Kothari & Zaggle's Avinash Godkhindi

Dec 02, 2022

Unlike cryptocurrencies, the digital Rupee is issued in the same denominations as paper currency and coins. But how is the e-Rupee different from the UPI system, and how can you use RBI's e-Rupee? BTTV’s Managing Editor Siddharth Zarabi spoke to Avinash Godkhindi, MD & CEO, Zaggle, and Deepak Kothari, Co-founder, ft Cash.

Is The Indian Economy Cooling Down As Many Analysts Predict?

Nov 30, 2022

Gross domestic product data for the July-September 2022 quarter is to be out today with analysts having given a wide range of growth forecasts from 5.8 per cent to 7 per cent. Joins us live as BTTV's Siddharth Zarabi decodes the state of the economy with Rajani Sinha of CARE Ratings and Mitali Nikore of Nikore Associates

India Aims For Fewer GST Slabs: Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj

Nov 30, 2022

GST has brought a lot of discipline in the financial dealings of the corporate/individual sector. A company like HUL or ITC cannot sell goods and services without paying GST. It has helped in the white economy, ease of doing business, and matching of figures and calculations, Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj said in an exclusive conversation with Business Today TV Managing Editor Siddharth Zarabi. On being asked about the drawbacks of GST, Bajaj said, there is a need to look at whether GST rates can be shrunk. So, the difference between similar products is not there and they fall into one category rather than different categories, Bajaj said here.

“There Shouldn’t Be Arbitrage in Taxes:” Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj

Nov 30, 2022

In an exclusive interview with Business Today TV Managing Editor Siddharth Zarabi, Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj hinted at changes to income tax and capital gains tax regime. There are various asset classes and indexations are also subjective, he said, adding that there is need to simplify the capital gains tax regime. Talking about financial products, Bajaj said, people should invest because the product is good and, not let tax arbitrage be the only reason. Watch here.

Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj On The Old vs Alternative Tax Regime

Nov 30, 2022

A large number of taxpayers in India show an income of less than Rs 7 lakh per annum. There is a need to re-look at the whole tax scheme and come out with a scheme that has got less number of exemptions and maybe larger slabs. “I think if we do that, there will be a large number of people who will opt for it and, maybe at some stage the government can also think of having only one option rather than two,” Tarun Bajaj, Revenue Secretary said in an exclusive interview with Business Today TV Managing Editor Siddharth Zarabi. Bajaj also hinted at changes in income tax and capital gains taxation. Watch here to know more.

Exclusive Conversation With Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj Ahead Of Budget 2023

Nov 29, 2022

Next year’s budget, the last full budget before the general elections in 2024, could be the harbinger of big tax reforms. In an exclusive interview with Business Today TV Managing Editor Siddharth Zarabi, the Union Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj has hinted at changes in income tax and capital gains tax rules. He talks of the government looking at having uniform rules for indexation and various asset classes. The Revenue Secretary also stressed on the fact there should be no scope for arbitrage in taxes. Also, listen to the veteran finance ministry officer talk about the need for changes in personal income tax and the improvement which can be brought to the GST regime.

Jio Financial Services – Mukesh Ambani's Next Big Behemoth

Nov 24, 2022

Ever since Reliance Industries Ltd announced the listing of its financial services undertaking Jio Financial Services Limited on the stock markets last month, investor interest in the firm has increased manifold. "With secular growth drivers, the Indian financial services sector is poised to undergo a digital transformation. The sector presents a large, under-penetrated, and growing addressable market, especially for retail and small-business-focused product categories. JFSL and its subsidiaries will leverage the technology capability of Reliance and focus on digital delivery of financial products to democratise financial services access for 1.4 billion Indians," said RIL in a stock exchange filing in October. On Tuesday, Macquarie's report on Jio Financial Services had spooked Paytm stock, diving it to its record low, as the global financial services group sees Jio Financial Services becoming India’s fifth largest financial services firm. With investors anticipating a huge disruption for the Noida-headquartered Paytm, the company's shares fell 11 percent on BSE to close trading at Rs 475 apiece. HDFC Bank, State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, and Axis Bank are the four top companies in the business. JFS has significant scope to expand its balance sheet. “Assuming a 6.1 percent stake in Reliance Industries Ltd realised over time, with a Rs 1 trillion net worth JFS could be the 5th largest financial services firm in the country,” said Suresh Ganapathy, Aditya Suresh, and Param Subramanian in the report. The Reliance firm can disrupt the payments business and become a threat to other fintech models, said the report. Jio Financial Services, Macquarie said, has articulated that it plans to launch a consumer and merchant lending business based on proprietary data analytics to complement and supplement the traditional credit bureau-based underwriting. Macquarie said the focus seems to be on consumer and merchant lending, which is the mainstay of NBFCs like Bajaj Finance and fintech firms like Paytm. Disclosure: Mr. Suresh Ganapathy, Analyst certifies he & his associates/relatives do not have any financial interest in the subject company. Macquarie Capital Securities (India) Pvt Ltd is a SEBI-registered Research Analyst.

New Roadmap For Capital Gains Tax In Budget 2023-24

Nov 22, 2022

The tax authorities are undertaking a comparative analysis of India’s capital gains taxation regime with that of other countries with an eye on possible modifications in the upcoming general budget 2023-24. “We do not wish to subject taxpayers to differential periods (for levying tax on capital gains) for various asset classes. The tax slabs and rates also differ, which makes the whole structure cumbersome. We want simplicity. The government is certain that it wants to do it, but we would like to make the modifications at the right time. Our decisions may benefit many, but also hurt a few – which is the difficult part”, a finance ministry official said, adding the changes may take place within two years. Last week, news reports quoted Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Nitin Gupta saying that Budget 2023-24 was expected to announce changes in capital gains tax. However, he did not give details regarding the changes in the capital gains tax structure that the finance ministry may decide on. At present, the capital gains tax regime prescribes the holding period for determining whether the gains made at the time of selling the asset are short-term or long-term. The holding period and tax rate differ depending on the asset class. For certain assets, long-term capital gains are taxed without the benefit of indexation or accounting for inflation, which the government feels should be revised, reports Business Today Television special correspondent Karishma Asoodani.

Will Govt Cut Income Tax Next Year?

Nov 22, 2022

As finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has started the customary pre-budget meetings with stakeholders, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has sought a reduction in rates of personal income tax in order to revive demand in the economy. This could benefit over 58 million individuals who are part of the income tax regime as they had filed ITRs for the assessment year 2022-23. While this proposal may increase the amount of disposable money in the hand of those who pay direct taxes on income and get ignored in the last union budget, the other key proposal by CII if accepted can lead to a reduction in the prices of commodities which attract high GST slabs. CII has suggested that the union government should consider a reduction in the highest 28% GST slab on consumer durables.

Draft Data Protection Bill: What Rights Will You Have?

Nov 21, 2022

Government releases a new draft of the data protection bill and invites feedback from the public on the draft Bill by December 17, and no public disclosure of the submissions will be made. \With the aim to establish a comprehensive legal framework governing digital personal data protection in India, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has released a draft bill named ‘Digital Data Protection Bill 2022’. The ministry has been deliberating on various aspects of digital personal data to provide for the processing of digital personal data in a manner that recognizes both the right of individuals to protect their personal data and the need to process personal data. Prepared in simple language, the government is inviting feedback from the public on the draft Bill by December 17, and no public disclosure of the submissions will be made. Digital Personal Data Protection is legislation that frames out the rights and duties of the citizen (Digital Nagrik) on the one hand and the obligations to use collected data lawfully of the Data Fiduciary on the other hand. The bill is based on the principles around the Data Economy. The new draft comes after the widely debated and discussed Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, which includes provisions like the rights of individuals, duties of entities processing personal data, and regulatory framework, among others. The government took into account the consultations and deliberations and has now prepared a draft bill. With European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation considered the best, the Indian government has considered the global best practices, including a review of the personal data protection legislations of Singapore, Australia, the European Union, and prospective federal legislation of the United States of America. “It has become clear over the last few years that while the internet and technology is a force for good and connectivity, it is also a place where user harm and misuse can exist if these rules and laws are not prescribed. That is why laws and rulemaking for the internet have to be around the basic foundational principles and expectations of our citizens of openness, safety & trust, and accountability,” MEITY said. The government said that currently there are over 76 crores (or 760 million) active internet users (Digital Nagriks) and over the next coming years this is expected to touch 120 crores (1.2 billion).

Turning The Clock Back On Reform?

Nov 18, 2022

Old is gold, in the eyes of the Congress-led state governments of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, but the party itself seems to be a divided house on the matter. A day after the Congress party data analytics department head Praveen Chakravarty raised questions on the financial viability of restoring the old pension scheme in Gujarat, a promise made in its manifesto, the Congress spokesperson said it was his personal view and shouldn’t have been made public. This comes at a time when the Supreme Court has referred a plea on the matter of poll freebies to a larger bench. Meanwhile, former NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya has told a newspaper that a poll promise is “fair game” if it is a one-time sop and does “not create long-term liability” for the next government. Panagariya, however, described “sinful” and “immoral” poll promises, such as reviving the Old Pension Scheme (OPS), which will result in a significant financial burden for governments in the future. Joining the show is Kavim Bhatnagar, a former Civil Servant from MP who holds a Doctorate in Pension Economics and has worked in many countries in Asia and Africa to design and develop their pension systems including reforming the civil services pension system. He was also part of the team that worked on developing the National Pension System (NPS) in India. He is currently located in Bangladesh and working on reforms in the Social Protection space with the Government. He is also an active member of the Paris-based World Pension Council.

Rupee Declines To 81.29 To The US Dollar

Nov 17, 2022

The rupee declined 0.25% to 81.2975 per dollar on Wednesday as sustained corporate demand pushed the U.S. dollar up, while weakness in Asian stocks and currencies spilled over to domestic markets. The rupee has shed nearly a percent from its high of 80.51 on Monday, with volatility gripping markets this week. The US dollar index slipped 0.3% after initial gains. U.S. President Joe Biden soothed nerves by saying the missile that caused an explosion in NATO-member nation Poland may not have been fired from Russia. However, Asian stocks and currencies remained jittery, with the Chinese yuan and shares falling 0.5% each. Recent turbulence in the currency markets has also left investors guessing which way the rupee would go. But with a likely recession in developed markets hitting global trade, some reckon the greenback will rebound and pressure Asian currencies. Some analysts maintain rupee projections of 83.50 to 85 against the US dollar.

Over 120,000 Tech Job Cuts Across World

Nov 16, 2022

It’s dark days for the tech sector with Amazon joining the list of tech goliaths letting go of people. Reports say the Jeff Bezos-owned company will lay off as many as 10,000 employees. While the contagion has not yet spread to Indian companies, the desi start-up eco-system has been hit hard. It is the largest private sector employer in the world… third only to the US department of defence and the Chinese army. With more than 20 lakh employees, Amazon could populate the entire city of Nagpur. However, according to reports is planning to lay off around 10,000 employees in corporate and technology roles beginning this week. The cuts would represent about 3% of Amazon's corporate staff. The online retailer plans to eliminate jobs in its devices organization, which makes voice-controlled "Alexa" gadgets and home-security cameras, as well as in its human resources and retail divisions. The news follows a wave of layoffs across the technology sector, which is wary of recession after years of rapid hiring. Just last week, Facebook parent Meta Platforms said it would cut more than 11,000 jobs, or 13% of its workforce, to rein in costs. The post-Elon Musk Twitter has fired more than half its employees along with 5,000 contract workers. The entire tech sector has been hit by the global economic slowdown. Even the lucrative holiday season in the US has not helped sales. Analysts see tighter shopping budgets as households wrestle with high inflation and energy costs. Even giants like Apple, Microsoft and Snap are feeling the squeeze and have cut back on hiring plans. The Indian IT sector, which has a large part of its earnings from outside India, is also feeling the heat but has not entered the meltdown stage yet. The start-ups, however, are shedding jobs. The list includes Byju’s, Unacademy, Vedantu, Cars24 and Ola. Ryan Roslansky, CEO of LinkedIn, has said that there will be a hiring freeze across various verticals of the company. “We haven't announced ... any kind of layoffs. We have put ourselves inside of a hiring freeze right now for various parts of the company. But again, like every other leader, we're just continuing to navigate the global strategy that we need to keep the company going to create this platform.” Microsoft-owned LinkedIn also sees a silver lining in this entire process of layoffs. Roslansky is of the opinion that employees are turning to their platform to look for new and better opportunities and even upskill themselves for better prospects.

Will RBI Slow Rate Hikes?

Nov 15, 2022

India's retail inflation cools to 6.77%, still above RBI's comfort limit India's retail inflation in October dropped to 6.77 percent, but still remained above the comfortable limit of 6 percent set by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). October's number is down from 7.41 percent in September and 7 percent in August. The retail inflation in July was 6.7 percent. The latest inflation number is in line with RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das's prediction on Saturday. He had said that CPI (Consumer Price Index) - which measures the overall change in consumer prices - would be lower than 7 percent. In September, the country's retail inflation had touched 7.41 percent due to high food prices, and supply shocks from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This was the ninth straight month when the CPI number was above the RBI's upper inflation limit of 6 percent. The RBI has the mandate of keeping inflation at 4 percent with a two percent variation on either side - that sets the lower limit at 2 and the upper limit at 6 percent. However, India's retail inflation breached the upper limit in January and has been above it since then. In April, May, June, and August, the inflation was above 7 percent. Earlier today, the Centre put out the Wholesale Price Inflation (WPI) numbers for October. The WPI for the month of October stood at 8.39 percent against 10.7 percent in September, which is a decline of over 2 percent. The Commerce and Industry Ministry said that the decline in WPI inflation in the month of October can be attributed to a drop in the price of mineral oils, basic metals, fabricated metal products (except machinery and equipment), textiles, other non-metallic products, minerals, etc..

Signs Of Economic Revival As Sep IIP Logs In At 3.1%

Nov 11, 2022

Moody's on Friday slashed India's GDP growth projections for 2022 to 7 percent from 7.7 percent earlier as the global slowdown and rising domestic interest rates will dampen economic momentum. This is the second time that Moody's Investors Service has cut India's growth estimates. In September, it had cut projections for the current year to 7.7 percent from 8.8 percent estimated in May."For India, the 2022 real GDP growth projections have been lowered to 7 percent from 7.7 percent. The downward revision assumes higher inflation, high-interest rates, and slowing global growth will dampen economic momentum by more than we had previously expected," the agency said in its Global Macro Outlook 2023-24. Moody's expects growth to decelerate to 4.8 percent in 2023 and then to rise to around 6.4 percent in 2024. It said the global economy is on the verge of a downturn amid extraordinarily high levels of uncertainty amid persistent inflation, monetary policy tightening, fiscal challenges, geopolitical shifts, and financial market volatility. Global growth will slow in 2023 and remain sluggish in 2024. Still, a period of relative stability could emerge by 2024 if governments and central banks manage to navigate their economies through the current challenges, Moody's added. Catch Siddharth Zarabi, Managing Editor, Business Today TV in conversation with Indranil Pan, Chief Economist, Yes Bank on the latest industrial production figures for September. The sector has seen an all-around pick-up with the overall index logging in at 3.1% versus a negative growth of 0.7% in August. Find out which sectors led the improvement, which sectors were the laggards, and what the numbers mean for the overall July-September GDP figures due end of this month.

Why Is India Buying Russian Crude Oil?

Nov 10, 2022

India will continue to buy crude oil from Russia as it is to its advantage. Since April this year, India has purchased nearly 15 percent of its total oil from Russia, which has now become the third-largest supplier, with a total import worth nearly $16 billion. The amount of discount is over 7 percent. The US and other nations in the world may not appreciate India buying Russian oil, but they have accepted it as New Delhi has not been defensive about its stand but made them realise the obligation the government has to its people amidst "unreasonably high" oil and gas prices, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said. He has defended India's decision to buy discounted Russian oil amid Moscow's ongoing war with Ukraine, saying many suppliers of India have diverted their supplies to Europe, which is buying less oil from Russia. “When it comes to Russian oil, India’s monthly purchases amount to less than what Europe buys in an afternoon. “If you're looking at energy purchases from Russia, I'd suggest that your attention should be focussed on Europe. We do buy some energy, which is necessary for our energy security. But I suspect, looking at figures, our total purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon,” said Jaishankar. In FY22, India bought around 2.4% of its overall oil imports in volume terms from Russia, while in FY21, it was just 1.7%. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen revealed in September that Russia is heavily discounting oil for emerging economies. India will "benefit" from the proposed price cap on oil, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said, arguing that the United States does not want Russia to "profit unduly" from the war by enjoying prices that are essentially very high due to its Ukrainian invasion. Developing countries like India and China have been increasingly buying discounted Russian oil as global energy prices remain high and Western nations seek to scale down their reliance on Russian energy. “We want Russian oil to continue to supply global markets; stay on the market. But we want to make sure that Russia doesn't profit unduly from the war by enjoying prices that are essentially very high due to the war,” Yellen told PTI in an exclusive interview on Monday ahead of her trip to India later this week. India’s oil purchase from Russia and the Ukrainian invasion is expected to be significant topics of discussion during her India trip, where Yellen is travelling to primarily co-chair the US-India Economic and Financial Partnership (EFP) dialogue along with her Indian counterpart Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. “Our objective is to hold down the price that Russia receives for its oil and keep that oil trading. The gainers from this will be particularly those countries that do buy cheap Russian oil, and our hope would be that India would take advantage of this price cap, though its firms are bargaining with Russia,” Yellen said.

PM Modi's Economic Adviser Bibek Debroy Calls For Single GST Rate

Nov 09, 2022

Watch Siddharth Zarabi, Managing Editor, Business Today TV decode the call made by Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council Chairman Bibek Debroy that India should have a single goods and services tax (GST) rate and an exemption-less tax regime. Speaking at the TIOL Tax Congress 2022, Debroy was cited as saying: “as a polity, we need to recognise that the GST really should be the same regardless of the product. If progressivity is to be introduced, it is best done by direct taxes, not GST, or indirect taxes,” adding that these were his personal views. The original GST revenue neutral rate pegged by the Union Finance Ministry was 17 percent, but the average GST rate at present is 11.5 percent, he said. “We must be willing to pay tax or we must be willing to settle for reduced delivery of public goods and services”. India has four major GST slabs - 5 percent, 12 percent, 18 percent, and 28 percent. Over and above the 28% rate applicable for some ‘demerit’ and luxury goods, an additional cess is levied as well. In the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is “a path-breaking legislation for New India”. The GST was rolled out at midnight of 1 July 2017 in a ceremony held in the Central Hall of Parliament. The government said that GST is not merely a tax reform but a milestone in realizing Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s dream of building ‘Ek Bharat – Sreshtha Bharat’. Before 1 July 2017, the Indian indirect tax regime was highly fragmented. Centres and States were separately taxing goods and services. There were many taxes like excise duty, service tax, VAT, CST, purchase tax, entertainment tax, etc. In addition, there was a multiplicity of rates, laws, and procedures. This caused a heavy compliance burden. The imposition of tax on tax was another serious problem. For example, VAT was levied on a value that included excise duty. The input tax credit chain broke as goods moved from one state to another, resulting in hidden costs for the business. There were tax nakas at every inter-state border, creating bottlenecks in inter-state transport of goods. Every state was effectively a distinct market for the industry as well as consumer. The industry’s choice of locating factories or warehouses was heavily influenced by the prevailing tax regime rather than pure business consideration, making the industry uncompetitive. 2000 – PM conceptualized GST and set up a committee to design the GST model 2003-04 – FRBM Committee formed which recommended introduction of GST 2006 – Union Finance Minister, in the 2006-07 Budget Speech, announced introduction of GST from April 1, 2010. 2009 – First discussion paper on GST released 2011 – Constitution (115th Amendment) Bill 2011 for incorporating relevant provisions of GST introduced in Parliament 2011-13 – GST Bill referred to Standing Committee 2014 – Constitution (115th Amendment) Bill lapsed with the dissolution of 15th Lok Sabha, necessitating a fresh Constitutional Amendment Bill 2014-15 – The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014 was introduced and passed in May 2015 August 2016 – The Constitution (101st Amendment) Act was enacted September 2016 – Constitutional changes made vide 101st Amendment come into force. GST Council created, 1st GST Council Meeting held May 2017 – GST Council recommended all the rules 1st July 2017 – GST Launched

Skill Development For Working Professionals

Nov 07, 2022

Interview with Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, President and CEO, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). What are the emerging trends relating to people issues and how will they impact the workplace in the coming years? How important is Skill Development for working professionals? As a global leader on all matters affecting work, workers and the workplace, Mr. Taylor is a sought-after voice by C-suite executives as well as policy makers. He is frequently invited to testify before the U.S. Congress on critical workforce issues—from sexual harassment to paid leave. SHRM drives social and economic change in the workplace and fosters mutually beneficial work environments that serve both business and employees. Under Mr. Taylor’s leadership, the Society has grown to a record 300,000+ members in over 165 countries who impact the lives of more than 110 million workers every day.

EXCLUSIVE: Sanjiv Chadha, MD & CEO, Bank Of Baroda

Nov 07, 2022

Bank of Baroda reports net income for the second quarter that beat the average analyst estimate. Record net profit for Q2FY23 up by 58.7% YoY to INR 3,313 crore, Net profit in (H1 FY23) stood at INR 5,482 crore registering a strong YoY growth of 66.3%. GNPA at 5.31% - a reduction of 280 bps YoY and 95 bps QoQ, NNPA at 1.16% a reduction of 167 bps YoY in Q2FY23 and 42 bps QoQ. Net Interest Margins stand at 3.33% in Q2FY23, an increase of 48 bps YoY & 31 bps QoQ.

Inflation, Interest rates & The Economy

Nov 03, 2022

The Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Committee has met today to finalise a report for the government on why it failed to keep retail inflation below the target of 6 percent for three consecutive quarters since January this year, said sources. The report will be presented to the government as per the Reserve Bank of India Act, they added. The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das. The other members include Shashanka Bhide, Honorary Senior Advisor at National Council of Applied Economic Research, Delhi; Ashima Goyal, Emeritus Professor at Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai and Jayanth R Varma, Professor at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad as well as RBI Deputy Governor Michael Debabrata Patra and RBI Executive Director Rajiv RanjanWatch this video to find out the details. The next bi-monthly meeting of MPC is scheduled to be held from December 5th to 7th. The meeting is expected to be about drafting an explanation failing to adhere to the inflation target. RBI has not been able to adhere to the inflation target for three quarters.

RBI Begins Testing Digital Rupee

Nov 02, 2022

The pilot project to test the digital Rupee which began this morning has not been without its hiccups. According to dealers, some of the transactions were stuck during the test runs. Announced in this year’s budget by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the central bank's digital currency is a major leap toward transparency in money transactions. But what is digital currency? How different is it from digital payments? From the day Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the government’s intention to launch a digital Rupee, it’s taken the project exactly nine months to gestate to the next major stage. The Reserve Bank of India today started a pilot project to test the e-rupee… involving 9 major banks in the settlement of secondary market transactions in government securities. According to the RBI, the use of the e-Rupee will significantly reduce costs on the bond trading platform. The next step… of using the digital rupee in the retail segment, is expected to be taken next month in select locations in closed user groups comprising customers and merchants. (So what exactly is a central bank digital currency? There’s been a lot of talk about it in the past one year since crypto-mania swept the country and fizzled out. How different is it from cryptocurrencies? More importantly, how different is it from the current digital payments which have so intricately become a part of our lives?)