Top US crypto exchange Coinbase has opened up shop in India as part of its expansion into one of the largest untapped markets in the world.
Coinbase has officially launched trading services in the country, it revealed at a company event in Bengaluru.
“Coinbase’s role here is going to be in a very long-term game. We’re making a long-term investment,” Armstrong said. “We know it’s not going to be a straight shot to bring this technology (in the region). 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 showed a real spark of interest in cryptocurrency and there’s a real desire to get access to some of these services and products.”
The exchange’s announcement comes days after CEO Brian Armstrong revealed that Coinbase was going on a big hiring spree in the country, quadrupling its workforce with an additional 1,000 new employees. Armstrong mentioned how Coinbase Ventures, the company’s venture capital arm, had already dropped $150 million in “home-grown Indian technology companies in the crypto and web3 space,” adding that the exchange was “constantly identifying new opportunities to help Indian founders scale.”
“Coinbase’s Indian tech hub was launched last year and already has over 300 full-time employees across India’s states and regions,” Armstrong said.
“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.”
The India expansion also comes as the country grapples with progressively more uncertain regulatory discourse. Rumours of India blanket banning crypto circled continuously throughout 2021, and recently, new tax rules kicked in forcing a 30% flat tax on all crypto transactions, causing volumes to dip significantly.
Nonetheless, Coinbase’s global chief product officer Surojit Chatterjee says the regulatory climate has seen productive developments.
“We are very happy that the Indian government has been looking at digital assets very closely and they have clarified a few things that virtually digital assets are not tenders, they’re not competing with digital rupee.”
“Creating a tax regime around it also makes it an asset class,” Chatterjee added.