Crypto exchanges bet big on India

Surabhi Mumbai | Updated on November 25, 2020

Working on strategies to increase awareness among investors

Amid bitcoin touching a record high, crypto exchanges continue to bet big on India, and are working out expansion plans and strategies to increase awareness among investors.

“Binance has been pretty active in India. We believe that India has a very unique opportunity to grow. It is already a tech centre, and it is an ideal opportunity to transform it from a tech hub to a fintech hub. There is a high degree of understanding of Indian users and relatively high adoption rate in India,” said Changpeng Zhao, CEO, Binance.

Zhao says this time around bitcoin valuation is not a bubble. “Over the last three years, we have seen the industry grow tremendously, many new applications. DeFI, offering real services to users, we have seen a lot of innovation in the space this time. There was a previous instance already, the second time is not a bubble,” he told BusinessLine.

Crypto mustn’t have currency

The globally leading cryptocurrency exchange had acquired Mumbai-based bitcoin exchange WazirX in November last year. Since then, WazirX has recorded over 1,500 per cent growth in its daily trading volumes.

“WazirX is leading most of our efforts in India. Given the large tech talent in India, we have launched a number of hackathons,” said Zhao.

It also launched Binance P2P platform for India, and it has seen healthy growth over the past two quarters.

Similarly, Zebpay, which relaunched operations in India in January this year, is also optimistic about the Indian market and has been working on advocacy as well as expanding its operations.

‘India is really important’

“We wanted to be within the law. When cryptocurrency trading was banned, we realised that if we can’t operate then there is no point in having a store without any shelves. But India is really important, it’s in our DNA. We should be in the country in some way,” saidRahul Pagidipati, CEO, ZebPay, explaining the decision to return.

It re-started crypto-to-crypto trading in January, and resumed operations in March soon after the Supreme Court ruling to lift the ban.

The company has a lot of growth plans and has been increasing the quality of servers and decreasing transaction costs. It also plans to launch a non-fungible token.

Amidst Covid lockdown, cryptocurrency trading sees a boom

The talk of another ban on cryptocurrencies is a concern for players, but they said cryptocurrency will eventually have to be accepted.

“Bitcoin is a global currency, it is not affected by any one country,” said Pagidipati.

Zhao said that going back and forth on regulations is quite normal for early-stage industries where there are many different opinions. “We want to help if we can lend our opinion or expertise and faster clear regulations that protect users and also encourage innovations,”he said.

Significantly, both Binance and Zebpay decided to work in India before the Supreme Court ruling lifted the ban on trading.

“We think this is the industry of the future, you can’t ban it, sooner or later, it will have to be adopted,” said Zhao.

Published on November 25, 2020

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