Amid the buzz of uncertainty related to regulations and the multiple challenges the crypto industry faces as it tussles with 30 per cent taxation, CoinDCX has doubled its valuation to $2.15 billion after its $135 million Series D fundraise, eight months after it turned unicorn. Outlook Money Spoke to Sumit Gupta, CEO of CoinDCX on several challenges, which crypto exchanges are facing nowadays in India.
Q1) Several crypto exchanges have disabled their payment option on their platform, including CoinDCX. What kind of options do new investors have to enter into this crypto ecosystem? By when will all these payment options be back? Do you see P2P method as an alternative option?
Ans) We are regularly in touch with different stakeholders, so that we can make payment flows seamless. It’s something that we are actively working on, and I think in the coming weeks or months, we will see some solutions to that.
Q2) Several Web3 companies are moving out of India. Your comment on crypto brain drain? Are you planning to shift your venture from India in the future? Also, how do you intend to solve the Web3. 0 talent crunch?
Ans) Our focus has always been in India as there is incredible demand from Indian investors (users). We have no doubt that crypto adoption will only continue to grow in the years ahead. You may also note that Chainalysis has ranked India second globally in crypto adoption in 2021.
On the talent front, we are currently 400 employees, and aim to grow to a 1,000-employee base by 2022. We will be hiring across functions, such as product, compliance, growth, and marketing, but largely in engineering. However, finding the right talent has always been a challenge, and there are lot of foreign companies that are trying to tap the same talent pool.
Q3) A 30 per cent tax on VDA has already made a dent in the crypto industry by sharp declines in trading volume. How are you preparing for 1 per cent TDS which will be effective from July 1?
Ans) The fall in volumes is global, and not just limited to India. However, the onerous tax levied has contributed to the drop. With greater regulatory clarity though, the treatment of crypto can be viewed as a progressive step forward. That said, there has been some discussions regarding the 30 per cent taxation figures and gaps in clarity when it comes to tax deductible at source (TDS), with some suggesting that these may potentially deter greater innovation in the sector. While progress in crypto has been encouraging, this is just the beginning of crypto’s journey in India, and we look forward to greater developments on the regulatory front that will serve to grow and support the future of finance.
Q4) Amid this ongoing crypto buzz, how do you see the future of the crypto industry in India?
Like any traditional market, crypto is also exposed to volatilities. The dynamism of India’s crypto market is driven in large part by regulatory developments. Now that crypto is on the path of becoming regulated, investors (users) have more clarity and confidence in digital assets. So we maintain an optimistic view for growth. More importantly, the growth of India’s digital asset sector is underpinned by solid fundamentals with an incredibly large addressable market. For that reason, CoinDCX is committed to doubling our growth in India and to ensure that we provide our customers with the best trading experience.
Q5) Are you contemplating business model changes given the regulatory uncertainty in the country?
Ans) Regulatory development has progressed in India, and we believe that the climate for crypto regulations will improve in the future. That being said, we are committed to India and see a great future here.
Q6) Some of your rival exchanges, such as Coinswitch Kuber are investing in crypto start-ups. What plans does CoinDCX have when it comes to start-up investments?
Ans) We are committed to India and are looking at building a strong Web3.0/ crypto ecosystem in the country. To support this vision, we are also setting up an innovation centre, which will help start-ups and developers to further Web3 and Blockchain adoption in India.
In addition, we have plans in the pipeline to expand our crypto investor base, but all such plans are in early stages of discussion.
Q7) When Crypto exchange’s trading volume declined, CoinDCX raised $135 million in funding, as valuation doubled to $2.15 billion. What are your next steps in the current environment?
Ans) Education, innovation, and compliance will be the key cornerstones of CoinDCX’s strategy. We will double our efforts to grow, with a focus on educating corporate and retail investors on the potential of digital assets. We are also going to innovate products that introduce responsible crypto investing to Indian investors. These offerings are deeper into crypto, and not just those that allow buying and selling. We recently launched a new product called ‘Crypto Investment Plan’ (CIP), which involves systematic investing over a long period. We have already onboarded 100,000 people and expect a lot of traction. To support this, we aim to triple our workforce by the end of 2022. We are also working to launch pilots and experiments to showcase the innovative potential of digital assets in relation to the growth of Web 3 industries.