Today I am going to interview the CEO and Founder of India’s leading crypto exchange WazirX Mr. Nischal Shetty. Nischal was named in Forbes India’s 30 under 30 list. He is also running a campaign on Twitter for regulating cryptocurrencies in India with the hashtag #IndiaWantsCrypto.
Let’s start the conversation with Mr. Shetty.
Aniket Srivastava: You were successfully running your previous startup Crowdfire so how did you decide to enter into Crypto industry and got the idea to start Crypto exchange?
Nischal Shetty: Wanted to buy some cryptocurrencies in 2017 and tried using a lot of exchanges – Indian and international. I couldn’t help noticing that Indian exchanges were lagging behind in terms of UX and transparency, and that’s when we decided to build WazirX! The name comes from the word “Wazir” which means the queen piece and the most powerful piece in chess. Our goal is to build WazirX the same way. We keep innovating and we want to give our users the most powerful trading interface.
Aniket Srivastava: You are running a campaign #IndiaWantsCrypto on Twitter and getting good support from the Indian crypto community so how do you think this campaign can help the crypto regulations in India?
Nischal Shetty: The purpose of the #IndiaWantsCrypto campaign is to create awareness amongst everyone about the benefits of crypto if it’s regulated properly. I’ve been tweeting to the government and decision makers every day for over 150 days urging them to bring in positive regulations. It’s gaining momentum and has been picked up by national and international media. We need to keep spreading the word, and I’m sure our voices will be heard.
Aniket Srivastava: Considering the crypto legal situation of India what you have planned if everything goes well and if everything doesn’t?
Nischal Shetty: We’re optimistic about positive crypto regulations in India. When that happens, the banks won’t be able to refuse support to crypto businesses. We have a strong user base, and already the fastest growing crypto exchange in India. Post regulations, with more Indians joining the crypto bandwagon, I’m sure our volumes will boost up. In the current scenario (with no regulation), we have P2P. In case the government decides against regulating crypto, it will force businesses to move out of India. I don’t think the government wants it.
Aniket Srivastava: By opening global registrations Wazirx can increase the liquidity of transactions. Do you have any plans for taking WazirX globally? (Asked this question when WazirX was not global)
Nischal Shetty: We have already opened global registrations for WazirX, and we’re seeing a good number of sign-ups from international countries. We’re also talking to our users and plan to take P2P international as well. The Fiat <> Crypto conversion problem is real, and we’ve already successfully solved this for Indian users. WazirX P2P – due to its unique auto-matching feature – is the fastest way to cash in/cash out of crypto. We’re seeing P2P matches every second. We’ll launch P2P in the top 3 countries with the highest demand very soon.
Aniket Srivastava: In India, people are not much familiar with Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies so what should be done to make them more familiar and popular in India?
Nischal Shetty: This is where we all need to collectively work together to educate the mass about blockchain and how to make a career out of it. We have started a Hindi YouTube series called Crypto Pe Charcha where we invite thought leaders in the crypto space in India and talk about basics – like the tax on crypto, analysis, crypto for beginners.
Aniket Srivastava: We have not seen Bull market since early 2018 downfall of crypto prices, so what do you think is the main reason behind this longest bearish crypto market?
1. ICO madness: A lot of money was raised on a lot of ideas that were never executed
2. FOMO: Increase in prices led to FOMO and a ripple effect on the prices of all cryptos.
The markets are now self-learning from all the mistakes made and it’ll emerge stronger and smarter.
Aniket Srivastava: How WazirX P2P is different and better than your Competitor exchanges?
Nischal Shetty: We have the world’s first auto-matching P2P system which makes WazirX P2P the fastest way to convert Fiat <> Crypto and vice versa. It’s also free. Here the buyer pays directly to the seller’s bank account and WazirX acts as an escrow for safekeeping. Since all P2P traders are KYC verified, you know that you’re dealing with legitimate traders. Within 7 months of launch, we crossed 18 Million USD worth of P2P trades on our platform.
Aniket Srivastava: Now Binance has started launching ICOs on its exchange so do your think IEOs will take over ICOs soon? And what is the future of IEOs on Indian Exchanges?
Nischal Shetty: It’s a good sign for the crypto ecosystem. ICOs were the first wave of fundraising for blockchain projects. The second wave will be IEOs. They’ll fix a lot of the problems that ICOs faced – mostly authenticity of projects. Now marketing of projects will be easier for legitimate teams as the exchanges will help them get discovered.
Aniket Srivastava: Crypto Adoption needs the real use case of crypto in real life so how it can be implemented in India and where we can use crypto?
Nischal Shetty: I’ve heard this talk about crypto needs use cases. However, crypto use cases already exist. And with time, more use cases will emerge. We’re still in the infrastructure building phase right now. Some of the use cases that you can already see live are:
We could go on and on.
Aniket Srivastava: Why businesses should use crypto instead of fiat currencies to trade? Is it good or bad for the businesses?
Nischal Shetty: Each has its own pros and cons. If you look at Internet businesses today, fiat limits them from performing a lot of use cases, especially micropayments. Payment gateways aren’t ideal for micropayments.
Crypto is a great solution for micropayments.
Similarly, there are business use cases where the payment gateway fees become prohibitively expensive. In such cases, crypto can again be used as a replacement.
Crypto is also a good use case for rewarding early adopters. For example, WazirX launched its own native tokens called WRX and has been able to provide these tokens as a reward to all our early users who sign up on our exchange. Any other reward would have been a logistical nightmare but crypto was frictionless to get started.
Aniket Srivastava: What are your future plans for WazirX and how the things are going on?
Nischal Shetty: Things are good. We’re seeing a steady growth every month, and I’m sure that with our global launch, it will only get better.
Aniket Srivastava: Something you want to say to our audience and where they can connect with you if they have some more questions to ask?
Nischal Shetty: Let’s keep talking about crypto, and clearing misconceptions around it. We need to work together to keep the crypto fire burning in India. You can always to get in touch with me by tweeting to me @NischalShetty.
It was great to have a conversation with Mr. Nischal Shetty.
You can also reach out to me on Twitter @JustAniket.
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