Coinbase launches in India
India's crypto markets are gearing up for a new era, as global crypto firms like Coinbase set up in India
By Shashank Bhardwaj
International cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced on Thursday that its trading services are now available in India. Announcing the decision during a crypto community event in Bengaluru, Coinbase added that customers will be able to trade up to 157 different crypto assets on its platform, as well as buy cryptocurrencies in Indian rupees. Coinbase is also offering a referral program and early-bird sign-up incentives in an effort to attract new users.
Coinbase is already an investor in two of the country's top exchanges, CoinSwitch Kuber and CoinDCX.
“Coinbase Ventures has already invested $150 million in home-grown Indian technology companies in the crypto and web3 space, and is constantly identifying new opportunities to help Indian founders scale’’, said Brian Armstrong, co-founder and CEO of Coinbase, in a recent blog post.
The platform’s launch in India comes at an interesting time for the country's investors when they are grappling with fresh new regulations. A 30 percent tax on earnings from crypto transactions and a one percent tax deducted at source (TDS) announced in the Union Budget by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman earlier this year, has not thawed the enthusiasm of the market or the community. And Coinbase is ready to enter the fray.
“Coinbase’s Indian tech hub was launched last year and already has over 300 full-time employees across India’s states and regions. We are excited to tap into the dynamic Indian software talent to build out our products and will continue to invest heavily in our India hub.
“We have ambitious plans for India and seek to hire over 1,000 people in our India hub this year alone,” he added, saying, “Combined with India’s world-class software talent, we believe that crypto and web3 technology can help accelerate India’s economic and financial inclusion goals’’.
Armstrong also acknowledged the challenges of pitching the technology to the wider population amid the new tax laws.
"We know it's not going to be a straight shot to bring this technology. We don't know exactly how it's going to evolve. But we're committed to working with bank partners, regulators, most importantly, the Indian people because they've shown a real spark of interest in cryptocurrency, and there's a real desire to get access to some of these services and products," he said.
Customers will be able to buy cryptocurrencies on the exchange using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), an immediate real-time payment system that allows peer-to-peer and person-to-merchant transactions regulated by India's central bank, the Reserve Bank of India.
UPI is currently the country's largest retail payment platform in terms of transaction volume. While this eases transactions for Indian investors, the company has not yet revealed any of its banking partners for UPI payments.
Hours after Coinbase's announcement, the National Payments Corporation of India issued a statement claiming that it is unaware of any cryptocurrency exchanges using UPI. Coinbase is yet to comment.
Shashank is founder at yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist.