- OKX plans to enter the Indian market and recruit local employees.
- The crypto firm plans to scale up its wallet services “exponentially” by tapping into India’s growing Web3 developer community.
- OKX’s chief marketing officer said the exchange is exploring possibilities to expand into India — despite regulatory uncertainties.
OKX, one of the top 3 cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, is planning to enter the massive Indian market and hire local employees in an effort to “exponentially” scale up its wallet services, according to a report by CoinDesk.
With this move, the Seychelles-based crypto firm seeks to tap into the South Asian country’s famous Web3 developer community.
Speaking to CoinDesk in an interview, OKX chief marketing officer Haider Rafique said that the crypto trading platform intends to tap into India’s developer talent to expand its wallet services. According to Rafique, the exchange currently has about 200,000 wallet users in the country, making up about 5% of India’s users.
OKX Loves India’s Growing Web3 Developer Community
Rafique also said that OKX was not planning to open an office in India but would hire local staff to lead its operations in the market. He said:
“We are not going to come in and cowboy this thing. We’re going to learn about the community. We’re going to work with local folks. Figure out where we can add value.”
The CMO also said that the company was identifying “who’s who in the zoo and “ how they can contribute to its efforts”, adding, “There’s a large developer community. How do we help them? Build a relationship with them.”
While this might be true, here is why OKX might be eyeing India. The U.S. might be a sizeable crypto market, but India has a growing developer community.
Note that since the 2021 crypto bull run, the number of developers savvy in blockchain coding languages like Rust and Solidity has been on the rise. But here is the thing, while there has been a steady increase in Indian Developers, the U.S. has been losing close to 2% of developers every year.
(Insert India’s growing developer community chart here)
Therefore, India has got developers and users. This could be why the OKX top leadership sees it as a bright region for growth, but is it?
India’s Uncertain Regulatory Environment
While OKX seems optimistic about the outlook in India, regulatory uncertainty remains in the country. Crypto is not banned in India and is not exactly legal either. There are mixed signals from the country’s leaders and regulatory bodies.
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for the need for a global framework to manage cryptocurrencies. A while ago, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das said that the next global financial crisis will happen with cryptocurrencies. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has proceeded to add a 30% flat tax on Virtual Digital Assets, along with a 1% Tax deduction at transaction sources.
The parliament has not legislated on Web3 or cryptocurrency issues but has imposed stiff taxes on trading and implemented anti-money laundering rules.
This leaves the crypto community confused about the government’s exact stance on cryptocurrencies and digital assets. It also leaves businesses in the space such as crypto exchanges, venture capital firms and blockchain-powered firms without a clear regulatory environment to operate in.
There is only much an administration can do without proper regulation.
As a result, centralized exchanges (CEXs) in India are going through difficult times at the moment. This is because of the regulations formulated after the Annual Budget. After a whopping 30% flat tax on crypto along with a 1% tax deduction at source, operating a crypto exchange in India is becoming way too expensive.
These strict regulations have pushed Indian exchanges like CoinDCX and Coinswitch to cut down on 12% and 7% of their employees respectively.