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Growing Jibo: Talking robot families with Cynthia Breazeal

The age of robotic butlers and Jetson’s-style automation is yet to be delivered, but the team behind Jibo believes it has a more relevant, usable alternative. A robot that integrates into the family, as well as one which could spawn a family of its own, Jibo aims to humanize domestic robotics but without dropping us into an Uncanny Valley of creepy pseudo-skin. I caught up with company founder and MIT robotics expert Cynthia Breazeal to find out how the Jibo you see today is the gateway to a life peppered with electronic companions.

Part of the bid for acceptability is in how Jibo moves, with a fluidity and animal grace that’s unfamiliar from what you’d traditionally associate with a robot. “In terms of the motors, the underlying motor control, that’s just great engineering,” Breazeal told me. “But all the stuff on top, its kinematic chain, how we generate those movements, that’s secret sauce stuff. At the algorithmic level, it’s cleverness around the design.”

It’s what prompted the addition of a computer animation expert to the Jibo team, and a greater focus on how the precise stepper motors within the twisting, rotating ‘bot work together.

“People and organic things move very differently from the way we think about machines and things today,” Breazeal explained. “Organic things move in arcs, they move in ways that trigger our brain to think “organic”, whereas machines tend to move in rectilinear ways, very abrupt.” It’s the difference between “uber-efficiency versus fluidity and expressivity,” she concludes, “the big thing is arcs.”

What Jibo isn’t is a do-everything platform. In fact, the team has selected a relatively small set of launch features, though there’ll be more coming both from Jibo itself and as third-party developers wade in over time. That decision was a deliberate one, Breazeal told me.

“We are courting developers as much as as we’re trying to court consumers,” she said. “We chose the core set of functions based on three things, three family pillars.”

So, there’s Jibo as the hands-free assistant, helping to coordinate extended family and particularly those – like young children or the elderly – who don’t use existing tools like cloud-based calendars and Skype. Then there’s enabling the emotional connection within a family, with telepresence and video calls.

Finally, there’s the ability to bring content to life, with Jibo shifting digital storybooks and such beyond the screen, as well as providing a sense of companionship. It’s not reinventing the wheel, Breazeal says, but rather making each application more engaging in a way that only a robot can.

“We chose applications specifically that we knew were widely used today,” she pointed out, “but which we knew we could do in a different way with Jibo. Social robots, they’re designed to be partners for people: they’re a partner not a tool. Jibo’s not a camera, it’s a cameraman. It’s not an e-reader, it’s a storyteller. It makes you feel like you’re in a private audience, that it’s performing for you.”

That’s an approach that Breazeal says has resonated well with Jibo’s test audiences. “The people who we’ve been engaging in our early research, they’re not classic early-adopters of technology at all,” she told me. “They’re busy with family: we call them the Chief Family Officer. They’re the people who make sure things get done.”

“And when they see Jibo, their eyes light up. People are open to technology: they understand it can be empowering and they’re going to need technology to empower them to do the things they want and need to do.”

“It’s not trying to be human in any way: it doesn’t have arms, it doesn’t have legs,” Breazeal argues. “It’s anthropomorphic, it’s designed to be familiar to you, but it doesn’t have to look like an animal or a real person for people to see it as an ‘other’ rather than a ‘thing’.”

That acceptability comes despite the fact that, under the metal, glass, and plastic casing, the mechanics of Jibo are relatively mundane. Breazeal compares it to the guts of a high-end tablet. “We’re selecting components based on mass-produced devices that are readily accessible,” she pointed out, so the 5.7-inch touchscreen “face” comes from lines that normally supply smartphone OEMs. There’s WiFi and Bluetooth as you’d expect in a tablet-like device, though the Bluetooth won’t be activated until early in 2023.

Short-term ambitions are to work on reducing the price, as well as improve battery life (for the moment, Jibo will be able to run for around 30 minutes if equipped with the optional battery pack). However, Breazeal’s ambitions don’t end there.

“We’re at a sweet spot in our developer timeline that we can take feedback and inform our roadmap,” she explained about the timing of the crowdfunding campaign versus the mid- to late-2023 release window, and when I asked about possible evolutions in design and hardware. “But in terms of form-factor, absolutely [we’re looking at different designs]. We’re staring with this particular sweet spot because we can get it done in the timeline, but over time… I call it “Jibo on the Go”, cupholder size, I can imagine that. Very battery efficient, and it would be cellular.”

“I can imagine as time goes on – especially as we’re talking about the developer community – there will be people out there familiar with robotics. They might want to make a motorized base, a little Jibo car.” At launch, there’ll be smartphone apps for remotely engaging with the robot back home.

Connectivity to external devices is something the Jibo team is considering just as much as apps, a sort of “Works with Jibo” scheme similar to Apple’s for iPhone accessories. As well as the robot potentially getting a little buggy to trundle around in, Breazeal envisages it hooking up to home automation platforms and medical devices, as well as home sensors that learn activity patterns (much in the way that Nest can track who’s home and who’s away by movement in front of its Smart Thermostat).

Versions for the low-end and high-end markets are likely to join the family, and Breazeal name-checked curved screens as one possibility for a future high-end Jibo. “You can imagine devices that leverage curvature,” she teased, as well as the possibility of a mini-Jibo which would allow the robot to communicate with people elsewhere in the house. Your mini-Jibo might live on the nightstand and allow you to chat with the main Jibo on the kitchen counter, for instance.

For the moment, though, the goal is to see if developers and potential users are as enthusiastic about the robot as Breazeal and her team are. First signs are positive: the $100,000 crowdfunding target has been smashed in just a few hours, and the robotics expert says she’s already getting interest from people wanting to create “skill” apps for Jibo.

“It’s been an amazing response, I’m humbled and I’m thrilled by it,” Breazeal concluded. “It goes to show, people are ready for something like this.”

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Cute Robot Dogs Are Turning Dangerous With The Attached Guns!

Admirable robot dogs are now attached with guns and are ready to shoot!

One of the most remarkable discoveries in the domain of robotics is quadrupedal robots. They are small, agile, and cute. Quadrupedal robots resemble little dogs, which makes them even more attractive and alluring. But soon these robot dogs might be used for combat, defense, and security purposes, and it is increasingly becoming a popular idea in the US. Ghost Robotics has already built a quadrupedal robot that is equipped with a custom gun. Apparently, the gun is designed to be fitted into several robotic machines. It has a 30x optical zoom, thermal camera for targeting in the dark, with a range of about 1200 meters. The US government has been contemplating testing this gadget in a field for the army to test its effectiveness to be used in the line of defense. Even the NYPD (New York Police Department), Massachusetts State Police, and the Honolulu Police Department have recently started using robot dogs to accompany them for patrols, remotely defuse bombs, and fight crimes. The Singapore Government has also deployed robot dogs to patrol and maintain social distancing amid the current pandemic. These robots are autonomous ground vehicles with artificial intelligence.  

Fears revolving around unmanned robots

With the rapid development and deployment of robotics weapons and machines, it can be envisioned that robots might replace humans on the battlefields. These autonomous robots are also called ‘killer robots’ as they could select and engage targets without human intervention. Experts believe that robots in complete automation are incapable of differentiating between civilians and enemies, which violates international humanitarian law standards.

One of the most remarkable discoveries in the domain of robotics is quadrupedal robots. They are small, agile, and cute. Quadrupedal robots resemble little dogs, which makes them even more attractive and alluring. But soon these robot dogs might be used for combat, defense, and security purposes, and it is increasingly becoming a popular idea in the US. Ghost Robotics has already built a quadrupedal robot that is equipped with a custom gun. Apparently, the gun is designed to be fitted into several robotic machines. It has a 30x optical zoom, thermal camera for targeting in the dark, with a range of about 1200 meters. The US government has been contemplating testing this gadget in a field for the army to test its effectiveness to be used in the line of defense. Even the NYPD (New York Police Department), Massachusetts State Police, and the Honolulu Police Department have recently started using robot dogs to accompany them for patrols, remotely defuse bombs, and fight crimes. The Singapore Government has also deployed robot dogs to patrol and maintain social distancing amid the current pandemic. These robots are autonomous ground vehicles with artificial chúng tôi the rapid development and deployment of robotics weapons and machines, it can be envisioned that robots might replace humans on the battlefields. These autonomous robots are also called ‘killer robots’ as they could select and engage targets without human intervention. Experts believe that robots in complete automation are incapable of differentiating between civilians and enemies, which violates international humanitarian law standards. The complete deployment of autonomous weapons raises questions on its accountability which can erode civilian protection. Given that such a robot can identify a target and launch its own attack, it is unclear as to who should be held responsible for any unlawful actions committed by the machine.

9To5Mac Writers Talking Tech Kit: Ben Lovejoy

So it’s time for an update, and this time I’m taking a slightly broader approach and talking about both Apple and non-Apple tech. So, as before, let’s begin with the things on my desk …

As regular readers will know, I last year finally bit the bullet and switched from my much-loved (and heavily upgraded) Late 2011 17-inch MacBook Pro to a shiny new 2023 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. If you’d like to read about my purchase decision and experience with the machine, check out my MacBook Pro Diary series.

I’ve always gone for fully maxed-out Macs to maximize the useful life of the machine, but this time I had an additional reason: I was planning a move into more serious video editing. I’m shooting in 4K to allow room for crops during edits, and my new machine flies through 4K editing and background rendering without a stutter or beachball in sight.

On my desk, the machine sits on TwelveSouth ParcSlope stand (review), which helps with cooling and lifts the display more towards the centreline of my monitor. On the move, it travels in a Mujjo sleeve (review).

When I had my 17-inch MacBook Pro, it was sufficiently chunky that I felt the need for an 11-inch MacBook Air for mobile use. The 15-inch MacBook Pro is so portable that the MacBook Air is now redundant. I’ve hung onto it simply because a backup machine is always a good idea when you need a Mac to work.

Finally, to complete my desk setup, I upgraded my wireless keyboard and trackpad to the Magic versions, mostly for the greater convenience of not having to swap batteries, though the slightly sleeker form factor didn’t hurt.

I’ve upgraded my iPad three times since that 2013 piece: first to the iPad Air, then the Air 2 and most recently the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. I tried the 12.9-inch model, but much as I loved the size of the screen, I found the size too impractical for some key iPad applications, like reading ebooks in bed.

My iPad is only really used as a pure tablet for ebook reading and Netflix viewing. The rest of the time, a Brydge keyboard (review) turns it into a mini-laptop.

With my iPhone, I’ve come almost full circle since my earlier piece. I always preferred the smaller form factor, and at the time had an iPhone 4S. I upgraded to the iPhone 6 and then 6s, but then swapped that out for the iPhone SE. With my iPad as my primary mobile data device, the more pocketable size of the SE suits me perfectly – and I greatly prefer the iPhone 4-like design.

I’m still using the same low-profile Fujitsu scanner to support my paperless life, but have upgraded my desktop speakers to the absolutely superb B&W MM-1s.

I also have a few things hidden out of sight at the back of my desk. Behind my MacBook Pro is a Blue Snowball microphone used for video voiceovers. This was recommended by my colleagues as a way to get decent-quality recordings without breaking the bank, at less than fifty bucks. I also added a pop filter.

Tucked away behind the monitor is the other piece of hardware used for video editing: the Contour ShuttleXpress (review), a hardware jog-dial which is a much more intuitive way of moving through videos than keyboard shortcuts, especially when you want to select a precise frame. This is supplemented by Editors Keys keyboard skin, just visible poking out from behind my Mac.

That completes the tour of my desk, so let’s look now at cameras.

Getting moving shots of review kit tends to require both additional hardware – like a camera slider – or a steady hand with a decent tripod and fluid head. While I’m practicing the ‘steady hand’ part, I wanted the option of animating footage in post-processing. This is easy with still photos, but doing it with video requires enough pixels to crop in.

This was the reason I upgraded from my much-loved Sony a6000 camera to the 4K-capable a6300 model. This wasn’t a cheap upgrade, but I figure it’s only a matter of time before 4K video becomes the expected standard, so I might as well bite the bullet now.

While I currently do voiceover narration during editing, I wanted to have the option of doing pieces to camera too. Built-in microphones are always weedy, so I got what seems to be the default external mic for vloggers everywhere: the Røde Videomic.

Completing my 4K camera line-up is a GoPro Hero 5 actioncam, and a DJI Mavic Pro drone (review). I probably won’t be using the latter for any 9to5Mac reviews, but you never know …

Where home hifi is concerned, I have an all-AirPlay setup. My main hifi system, in the living-room, is the elderly but still superb Bang & Olufsen Ouverture with Beolab 6000 speakers. This is the very epitome of the wisdom of ‘buying the right thing once.’ Now almost 20 years old, its CD and cassette(!) players may be redundant, but with the addition of an Airport Express, it serves as an AirPlay system that can play music from my Mac, iPad or iPhone.

In the bedroom, I have a Naim mu-so (review), an absolutely stunning all-in-one hifi system. Bathroom and kitchen have Logitech UE Air Speakers, a great way to get a multi-room AirPlay setup on a budget now that these are officially discontinued.

Although I didn’t get the iPhone 7, Apple’s view that we now live in a wireless headphone world did persuade me that it might be time for a long-time wired headphone guy to make the switch. The choice of which wireless headphones was simple: I did a straight swap from my wired B&W P5 to the B&W P5 Wireless (review).

I went all-out on HomeKit, my smart home system combining Philips Hue bulbs for ceiling lights, Elgato Eve plug sockets for lamps – and a combination of wall-mounted and portable Hue switches and motion sensors. My Smart Home Diary series details my setup.

My Tado heating system (review) isn’t yet HomeKit-enabled, but the company tells me it will be shortly. I’m not sure this will have much practical impact anyway – as a combination of schedules plus iPhone-based presence detection does everything needed of it – but it will at least complete the set.

One final piece of technology I upgraded might technically be considered a downgrade. I swapped out my app-controlled WiFi kettle (similar to this one) for what my partner refers to as a ‘magic tap’: an InSinkErator HC1100C. This is a unit that provides instant boiling water for tea! Technically, it provides water at 97C, which is the perfect temperature for black tea. There’s no WiFi and no app, so it’s arguably lower-tech, but provides tea on demand – so is definitely an upgrade where usability is concerned.

Photos: AirPlay one Jason Zigrino; rest are manufacturer stock shots or my own.

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Talking: A Strategic Social Media Management Framework

Frameworks for managing social media marketing

When I first read Groundswell by Forrester, I really liked their social media management acronym POST. It gave you a simple framework to digest their approach to social, don’t just jump to the technology, look at your People, Objectives, then develop your Strategy and finally implement the Technology.

This inspired me to create my own acronym TALKING, a social media management framework to help shape and champion social media plans. I’ve used it with many different types of business since and it seems to give rise to good discussions around the main social media strategy and management issues.

7 elements of the TALKING framework to manage your social media marketing

1. Tribes

Define and build your segments and personas.

Linking to Seth Godins reference to people being part of tribes of like-minded people who are connected and share goals and interested – in this context I am talking about your segments and persons. It is the first step before you dive right into your strategy is to create your persona for your ideal customers.  Find the hooks, the pain points, the problems that they will have and think about how your product or service is going to solve that problem for them.

 2. Activities

Understand their social activities and footprints.

Once you have identified your personas you will have a better understanding of what they are doing online.

Do your target audience maintain a profile on networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook (joiners), do they read blogs or watch videos (spectators), or post reviews (critics) are they creating content (creators), do they bother with social media at all?

3. Listening

Taking the time to understand the conversation landscape.

When you know where your tribes hang out, and you have a confident indication about which social media channels they are using, you need to start listening. If you jump right in and start talking at people with no thought to what content will hook or engage them, you are simply shouting at people who will ignore you and won’t be afraid to publicly tell you that you have missed the mark.

This is the time you want to find groups and see what the hot topics they are talking about. Do your homework; find out who are the influencers that you need to engage with. Don’t forget to listen to what your competition is saying on their channels. 

A tip at this stage is to use Google Trends to map out the hooks and pain points you identified in your personas and listening activity and map out a calendar or topics for your social media conversations.

If you have social monitoring tools (free or paid) set that up now and monitor the conversations based on your target keywords, brand names, and the issues/ paid points your target audience are interested in.

4. KPIs

Key Performance Indicators: measuring your efforts.

Social media can have a bad reputation about being fluffy and not a value driver for a business, but it can and should be measured.

You must demonstrate to the board that your efforts will make a difference to the bottom line, and the only way you can do that is to measure with metrics. Not sure what metrics to use? Don’t be fooled by vanity metrics, check out 19 social media metrics that really matter, according to Hootsuite.

5. Investment

Identify resources, technology and time to implement.

You have an idea what social media platform your target audience live, what they talk about, who sways influence, how you are going to measure it. Now you need to identify what your company needs to invest it to make it happen. Social media platforms may be ‘free’ to set up but many companies fail in their social media strategy by underestimating the resource’s needed overall.

Do you have a dedicated person who is going to monitor and reply to your tweets, who is going to write you blog posts? What is the process if someone posts something bad? What would your social media policy be?  Do members of the team need additional training and development? Will you outsource some campaigns to agencies?

6. Network

Discover and engage with influencers

Influencers…..they will be the ones who with one bad status update will convince a percentage of people in your target audience never to use you, and don’t just base it on number of followers, companies have been knocked down a peg or two by people with a few hundred followers.

7. Goals

Set SMART goals for your business

Your social media management framework should provide you with information to link back to company goals- are you doing this for awareness, sales, loyalty, retention?

Google Analytics provides a number of reports to help you analyse how much your social media efforts are impacting your goals and bottom line.

Found within the Acquisition/ Social section of the site, there are a good couple of reports to help you report and gain insights on:

Network referrals: how much traffic was sent to your site

Data Hub Activity: shows you the posts that took place whilst sharing content, great for understating trends.

Landing Pages: lets you the top landing pages from your social referrals.

Trackbacks: get data on what sources are providing you with traffic, great for finding potential influencers for your brand to work with.

Conversions: critical for your ROI reporting- how many goals were completed or assisted by social activity and can drill down by platform.

Plugins Users Flow: most websites now have social sharing plugins, this report will help you understand how people are interacting with your content for example some social sharing buttons may be working better than others, or content types e.g blogs may get more shares on Linkedin than Twitter.

I hope you find the TALKING social media management framework useful. For more on social media marketing management see our Social Media Marketing Learning Path for modules ranging from strategic planning to trends and tactics.

Also, don’t forget about our RACE Framework for omnichannel strategy and planning.

Core Module

Structure a plan using Smart Insights’ RACE

Part of the Digital marketing strategy and planning Toolkit

Learn how to structure a comprehensive omnichannel marketing plan, using Smart Insights’ RACE

Learn More

Inside The Lab That’s Growing Mushroom Computers

Upon first glance, the Unconventional Computing Laboratory looks like a regular workspace, with computers and scientific instruments lining its clean, smooth countertops. But if you look closely, the anomalies start appearing. A series of videos shared with PopSci show the weird quirks of this research: On top of the cluttered desks, there are large plastic containers with electrodes sticking out of a foam-like substance, and a massive motherboard with tiny oyster mushrooms growing on top of it. 

No, this lab isn’t trying to recreate scenes from “The Last of Us.” The researchers there have been working on stuff like this for awhile: It was founded in 2001 with the belief that the computers of the coming century will be made of chemical or living systems, or wetware, that are going to work in harmony with hardware and software.

Why? Integrating these complex dynamics and system architectures into computing infrastructure could in theory allow information to be processed and analyzed in new ways. And it’s definitely an idea that has gained ground recently, as seen through experimental biology-based algorithms and prototypes of microbe sensors and kombucha circuit boards.

In other words, they’re trying to see if mushrooms can carry out computing and sensing functions.

A mushroom motherboard. Andrew Adamatzky

With fungal computers, mycelium—the branching, web-like root structure of the fungus—acts as conductors as well as the electronic components of a computer. (Remember, mushrooms are only the fruiting body of the fungus.) They can receive and send electric signals, as well as retain memory. 

“I mix mycelium cultures with hemp or with wood shavings, and then place it in closed plastic boxes and allow the mycelium to colonize the substrate, so everything then looks white,” says Andrew Adamatzky, director of the Unconventional Computing Laboratory at the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK. “Then we insert electrodes and record the electrical activity of the mycelium. So, through the stimulation, it becomes electrical activity, and then we get the response.” He notes that this is the UK’s only wet lab—one where chemical, liquid, or biological matter is present—in any department of computer science.

Preparing to record dynamics of electrical resistance of hemp shaving colonized by oyster fungi. Andrew Adamatzky

The classical computers today see problems as binaries: the ones and zeros that represent the traditional approach these devices use. However, most dynamics in the real world cannot always be captured through that system. This is the reason why researchers are working on technologies like quantum computers (which could better simulate molecules) and living brain cell-based chips (which could better mimic neural networks), because they can represent and process information in different ways, utilizing a series of complex, multi-dimensional functions, and provide more precise calculations for certain problems. 

Already, scientists know that mushrooms stay connected with the environment and the organisms around them using a kind of “internet” communication. You may have heard this referred to as the wood wide web. By deciphering the language fungi use to send signals through this biological network, scientists might be able to not only get insights about the state of underground ecosystems, and also tap into them to improve our own information systems. 

An illustration of the fruit bodies of Cordyceps fungi. Irina Petrova Adamatzky

Mushroom computers could offer some benefits over conventional computers. Although they can’t ever match the speeds of today’s modern machines, they could be more fault tolerant (they can self-regenerate), reconfigurable (they naturally grow and evolve), and consume very little energy.

Slime molds are “intelligent,” which means that they can figure out their way around problems, like finding the shortest path through a maze without programmers giving them exact instructions or parameters about what to do. Yet, they can be controlled as well through different types of stimuli, and be used to simulate logic gates, which are the basic building blocks for circuits and electronics.

[Related: What Pong-playing brain cells can teach us about better medicine and AI]

Recording electrical potential spikes of hemp shaving colonized by oyster fungi. Andrew Adamatzky

When he had wrapped up his slime mold projects, Adamatzky wondered if anything interesting would happen if they started working with mushrooms, an organism that’s both similar to, and wildly different from, Physarum. “We found actually that mushrooms produce action potential-like spikes. The same spikes as neurons produce,” he says. “We’re the first lab to report about spiking activity of fungi measured by microelectrodes, and the first to develop fungal computing and fungal electronics.”  

An example of how spiking activity can be used to make gates. Andrew Adamatzky

In the brain, neurons use spiking activities and patterns to communicate signals, and this property has been mimicked to make artificial neural networks. Mycelium does something similar. That means researchers can use the presence or absence of a spike as their zero or one, and code the different timing and spacing of the spikes that are detected to correlate to the various gates seen in computer programming language (or, and, etc). Further, if you stimulate mycelium at two separate points, then conductivity between them increases, and they communicate faster, and more reliably, allowing memory to be established. This is like how brain cells form habits.

Mycelium with different geometries can compute different logical functions, and they can map these circuits based on the electrical responses they receive from it. “If you send electrons, they will spike,” says Adamatzky. “It’s possible to implement neuromorphic circuits… We can say I’m planning to make a brain from mushrooms.” 

Hemp shavings in the shaping of a brain, injected with chemicals. Andrew Adamatzky

So far, they’ve worked with oyster fungi (Pleurotus djamor), ghost fungi (Omphalotus nidiformis), bracket fungi (Ganoderma resinaceum), Enoki fungi (Flammulina velutipes), split gill fungi (Schizophyllum commune) and caterpillar fungi (Cordyceps militari).

Bitcoin Vs Cbdc: India’s Growing Need For Both

After the first crypto-related ban in 2023 that affected many from the sector, the 2023 proposal to ban all private crypto assets is having a similar effect. With the decision expected “soon,” and no specific timeline, traders and service providers remain uncertain about the expected announcement.  

This has not stopped industry members from appealing to regulators. Recently, Sumit Gupta, co-founder, and CEO of CoinDCX, one of India’s largest cryptocurrency trading platforms spoke on behalf of the crypto community in India. He requested the Indian government to regulate crypto assets “as a store of value and not as another currency,” instead of banning it altogether. He wrote: 

As one of India’s key players in this industry, our request to the government would be to regulate crypto assets as a store of value and not as another currency. We would love to initiate dialogues with the concerned stakeholders in the government and help the country take ownership of its rightful place on the global crypto stage. 

India’s policymakers first sounded the alarm on Bitcoin and other private cryptocurrencies back in 2023. A year after that, its central bank, Reserve Bank of India, banned banks from associating with crypto accounts. This impacted local crypto businesses and even retailers to an extent. However, the Supreme Court of India deemed the move unconstitutional in March last year, only to watch the crypto sector boom afterward, alongside a furious Bitcoin rally of 2023. 

A year after the ban was lifted, nearly $13.9 billion flowed into the industry creating close to 7.5 million active traders. As a result, even the average trading volume in the country grew by 500%. 

A current ban could choke an industry that, to say the least, is still nascent. As Arpit Agarwal, the Director at Blume Ventures that invested in Bengaluru-based crypto exchange Unocoin cautioned: if regulators authorize the ban, the Indian crypto community “will be back to the status where we were in 2023.” He believed that their best efforts were in educating lawmakers. 

The ban sparked criticism among crypto members in US, like Balaji Srinivasan, the former CTO of Coinbase, who did not support India’s decision to ban crypto. He believed this ruling would reverse the nation’s economy and cost it trillions of dollars. According to him, this ban would be similar to “banning the financial internet” from entering the nation of 1.36 billion people. Srinivasan predicted that the crypto ban could force businesses to leave the country, which would then result in capital flight.

We want to make sure that there is a window available for all kinds of experiments which will have to take place in the crypto world.”

There will be a very calibrated position taken on cryptocurrency.

Interestingly, the latest proposal to ban crypto runs parallel to RBI’s plans to issue a digital rupee, a project similar to China’s e-yuan. According to the central bank’s governor, Shaktikanta Das, the CBDC is “receiving full attention.” Some Bitcoin critics in the nation, such as billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala want regulators to focus on the digital rupee and ban the crypto.  

Bitcoin and other private cryptos such as Ethereum have been at the center of increasing mainstream attention. This increased the global crypto market cap by more than $1 trillion, largely due to Bitcoin’s own market cap surge to a trillion dollars.

Since India is the 11th largest nation in terms of crypto adoption, a heavy-handed ruling could lead to backdoor problems. Some believed that the ban would impact genuine businesses that “complied with the government,” and investors who “declared their holdings,” while the rest of the sector could spill into “unregulated grey markets” that will operate on the government’s blindside.

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