Crypto Currency

Coinbase India head relocating to the US; company slows down hiring  

Yatti Soni | | Updated on: May 17, 2022
Pankaj Gupta, vice president of engineering and site lead for India of Coinbase Global

Pankaj Gupta, vice president of engineering and site lead for India of Coinbase Global | Photo Credit: SAMYUKTA LAKSHMI

Coinbase India site head Pankaj Gupta is relocating to the US, according to two sources close to the development. The crypto-exchange is one of the largest players in the segment and the development comes at a time when the sector as a whole is facing several regulatory challenges.

In an internal email sent by Gupta last Friday (May 13), he announced his family’s relocation to the US citing “personal reasons.”

Gupta is Coinbase’s VP Engineering and lead for company’s tech hub in Bengaluru, which was set up in 2021. This development comes on the heels of Coinbase announcing plans to slow down hiring.

“Given current market conditions, we feel it’s prudent to slow hiring and reassess our headcount needs against our highest-priority business goals,” Emilie Choi, President and Chief Operating Officer of Coinbase, said in a blog post today (May 17).

A source close to the company told BusinessLine, “Coinbase hired a lot of people for India operations prior to the launch but post the launch and UPI roll back, India operations have come to a stop. They hired almost 100-150 employees in customer support. Now they are struggling in how to lay them off.” 

Currently, Coinbase is estimated to have a team strength of 400 people in India. Another source added that the company is marking people off track (or not performing) for minor reasons such as being non-responsive in the wee hours of the night (India time), and ego-clashes with the manager, among others. 

Multiple Glassdoor reviews of Coinbase also point to a bad work-life balance at the company. One of the people BusinessLine spoke to, said, “Coinbase does not give any warning to employees before marking them as off-track and terminates them in 3-4 weeks of being marked as not performing. Whereas, the standard industry practice is to give two warnings to the underperforming employees before putting them on a performance improvement plan (PIP). ”

“Our commitment to our current markets, including India, remains unchanged,” a Coinbase spokesperson said in response to BusinessLine queries.

Suspends both buy and sell orders

Last month, Coinbase has disabled UPI integration on the platform stopping all buy orders in India. However, people were still able to sell cryptos and trades were being processed throug IMPS fund transfer. As of May 17, the company has suspended all payment methods in India including both buying and selling of crypto. 

Recently in the company’s earnings call, Coinbase CEO and Co-founder Brian Armstrong said that informal pressure from the Reserve Bank of India led the global crypto exchange to disable UPI deposits, a few days after its India launch. 

In the same call, Armstrong said that Coinbase hopes to be back in India in relatively short order. “The company’s preference is currently to work with the authorities and focus on relaunching. There are several paths that the company has to relaunch with other payment methods there and that’s the default path going forward for Coinbase,” he added.

Published on May 17, 2022
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