When CoinSwitchKuber announced its fundraising news on Oct 6 that it had raised over $260 million from high profile investors at a valuation of $1.9 billion, all eyes in the crypto world were drawn to India again, the burgeoning cryptocurrency market where CoinSwitch Kuber is operating. Despite of the uncertainty in regulatory policies regarding the cryptocurrency industry in India, the funding in this round attracted famous investors such as venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Coinbase Ventures to join its existing investors Paradign, Ribbit Capital, Sequoia India and Tiger Global.
This round of financing has officially elevated CoinSwitch Kuber into a unicorn status among Indian’s homegrown cryptocurrency platforms. The first Indian crypto exchange crowned with the unicorn status was CoinDCX. Back in August this year, CoinDCX raised $90 million in a funding round with a valuation of $1.1 billion. The investment was led by Eduardo Saverin’s (the Co-founder of Facebook Inc.) B Capital Group, while CoinDCX’s existing partners Coinbase Ventures, Polychain Capital, Block.one, and Jump Capital participated as well.
Despite of the success that local Indian exchanges are experiencing when raising global capital to accelerate their growth in its home market, international players have also been joining the race to expand in the country. The Indian policy makers’ debate on crypto assets hasn’t affected the fundraising for exchanges, nor the growth they have been experiencing. Sumit Gupta, CEO of CoinDCX told Bloomberg in an interview that he plans to use part of the funds to double his team in the next six months to about 400 people in India. Registered in Singapore as Primestack Pte., CoinDCX aims to expand its user base from 3.5 million to 50 million over the next few years and focus on educating users on crypto and blockchain.
Such aggressive expansion goals are set on the backdrop of the country’s astonishing growth in the sector. India's digital currency market has grown from $923 million in April 2020 to $6.6 billion in May 2021, according to Chainalysis, a blockchain data platform. Among 154 nations, India ranks 11th in cryptocurrency adoption, it said. read more
Local Indian media had reported earlier this year that the government was looking to tax cryptocurrency trades and ecosystem in the country. read more Regulators’ push back against the crypto industry hasn’t slowed down the industry’s growth nor the citizens’ acceptance rate of digital assets. According to a report cited by IndiaTimes, the country has the highest number of cryptocurrency owners in the world at over 100 million.
While these newly minted crypto unicorns are celebrating the milestones in their path to explosive growth, another Indian platform WazirX, owned since 2019 by Binance, has been having a tougher time in the recent months. Back in June this year, India’s financial crime-fighting agency said that WazirX, one of the country's largest cryptocurrency exchanges and its directors, were under investigation for suspected violation of foreign exchange regulations. The CEO and Founder of WazirX, Nischal Shetty, had vocally defended his company. "We go beyond our legal obligations by following Know Your Customer (KYC) and AML processes and have always provided information to law enforcement authorities whenever required," Nischal Shettysaid.
Binance owned WazirX was first hit with roadblocks back in 2018, not long after its launch, when the Indian central bank imposed a blanket ban on virtual currency in the country. WazirX quickly launched a peer-to-peer trading system barely two days after the ban. WazirX had made the right bet and it became the key moment that the platform started to see a skyrocketing growth that continued to date.
While Binance has been facing challenges globally, from a ban in UK to regulatory pressure in other European countries, coupled with other Asian countries tighten the screw on the group, Shetty’s company has gone through its own fair share of regulatory scrutiny as well. WazirX, for its part, has been caught in the midst of a continuing crypto debate among Indian authorities, leading Shetty to team up with other exchanges to jointly engage the country’s top financial decision-makers. (read more)
Despite its regulatory uncertainty, India is clearly a precious jewel in the Far East region that attracted more than just Binance. AOFEX, a global leading service platform of digital assets, has just joined the rush to embrace theIndian market ahead of Diwali. AOFEX announcedits launch in India on October 15th, joining other Indian crypto currency exchanges in competing for the attentions of Diwali shoppers for thecountry’s biggest and most important holiday of the year. While during Dhanters, Indians traditionally rush to a gold shopping spree, in recent years they have expanded their Diwali investments to include other asset classes such as stocks. This Diwali, the crypto exchanges are seen engaging the famous Indianstars of all time such as Amitabh Bachchan, Ranveer Singh to educate first-time investors about cryptocurrency: the simplicity and superiority, in a very Bollywood manner. It will surely be a Diwali that, for many, also marks the start of a new crypto journey.