Coinbase Extends Its Influence in India with CoinDCX Investment
India has been notorious in the digital asset space for its central bank’s restrictive view of cryptocurrencies as a whole. Marred by a ban on cryptocurrencies from the Reserve Bank of India, the digital asset scene seemed to slowly die down in the country with companies in the industry having to shut down or scale down operations.
CoinCDX Gets Second Funding Round in Two Months
Nonetheless, the ban was lifted in March, making way for the rebirth of cryptocurrency companies in India. And it didn’t take too long for investments to start flooding into the country.
CoinDCX, one of India’s leading crypto exchanges, has announced a subsequent $2.5 million investment on Monday, only two months after its Series A $3 million funding round.
In this renewed strategic investment round participated Polychain Capital and Coinbase Ventures, the investment arm of US-based cryptocurrency platform Coinbase.
The additional funding is earmarked for CoinDCX’s efforts to spur adoption of cryptocurrencies in India, with the major #TryCrypto campaign aiming to attract as many as 50 million users in the country.
The new funding round was announced on the back of impressive growth figures and the exchange reaching record levels for their daily trading volumes. With the increasing interest in cryptocurrency during this global economic uncertainty, CoinDCXX sees an opportunity to expand the #TryCrypto campaign with educational initiatives, meetup events, consumer and community campaigns.
Some of the initiatives will include the launch of an Academy, a full-fledged blockchain, and cryptocurrency learning program for beginner crypto traders.
A Highly Coveted Region for Investors
The participating investors seem to have confidence in the potential of digital assets in India. Polychain Capital is a repeat investor after taking part in Series A seeding round as well.
CEO and Co-founder of CoinDCX, Sumit Gupta, shared his positive outlook for the scene in the country, appreciating the extensive interest from outside investors:
“The recent months have shown that the cryptocurrency industry in India is finally getting the recognition it deserves from global corporations and investors. Our relationship with Polychain Capital goes from strength to strength, reflecting our great partnership with the Polychain team.”
Gupta also highlighted the trust investors are lending to their company, sharing the vision of a world with digital assets underpinning transactions across the globe:
“We are also excited to add Coinbase Ventures as an investor; Coinbase’s vision and successful efforts for global cryptocurrency adoption have been admirable and mirror CoinDCX’s dream for a DeFi future.”
The Series A round attracted interest from high profile investors in the scene, with Bain Capital Ventures and Operator of BitMEX, HDR Group participating.
While Coinbase had started serving Indian customers back in 2019, this investment is the first foray for the US platform into the Indian crypto scene. Head of Coinbase Ventures, Shan Aggarwal, also stated his firm belief in the company’s leadership to build a robust platform and become a leader in the local crypto industry:
“As India continues to close the gap between the cryptoeconomy and the mainstream market, CoinDCX is strongly positioned to become the leading platform that consumers in the country interact with crypto through.”
Coinbase’s investment in CoinDCX is also a long-term strategic play, especially when arguably its biggest rival in the space – Binance – already has a partnership with another local crypto exchange WazirX.
Ambitious Plans to Lead the Crypto Market in India
CoinDCX seems to experience an accelerated rise in new users and trading volume, following the ban lift. The exchange is also the first in India to integrate bank account transfers, gaining a lot of traction on the local market.
CoinDCX also provides instant fiat to crypto transactions with zero fees, and the team behind the platform are striving to bring their users access to a wide spectrum of financial products and services that are backed by industry-leading security processes and insurance protection.
The company’s product roadmap is much more extensive and ambitious than being a local gateway to cryptocurrencies. CoinDCX already offers its customers a decentralised lending service DCXlend, and DCXmargin, with up to 6x leverage trades across more than 250 markets, and DCXfutures, with up to 20x leverage trades on leading digital assets futures.
Coinbase with an already established presence across the globe, has taken a decisive step in being part of the quickly expanding crypto market in India. After the regulatory hurdle was taken down, the country has the potential to be one of the biggest emerging markets for digital assets, especially when its population is quickly transitioning to a full mobile and online experience.
New Framework Passed in Cayman Islands, Addressing Virtual Assets
This framework, which was first put forth in early May of 2020, is comprised of 5 bills; each of which has the goal of facilitating a transparent, and safe, environment for market participants. Finance Minister, Tara Rivers, noted the following points, elaborating on the goals of this framework.
- Innovate financial services
- Provide regulatory clarity
- Protect consumers
- Comply with FATF recommendations
By passing this framework, the Cayman Islands have put a good foot forward in their treatment surrounding virtual assets.
Found within this new framework are two notable highlights.
- The Virtual Asset Service Provider Law
- Under this newly passed law, virtual asset service providers (VASP) must register with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA)
- Regulatory Sandbox
- This ‘sandbox’ is essentially a program which allows for companies to test/prove the viability of new products and services, without the need for full licensing.
When commenting on the purpose of these bills, Finance Minister, Tara Rivers, indicated that one of the reasons behind this move is to attract ‘legitimate businesses’.
Cayman Islands has long been noted as a tax haven nation. Due to friendly regulations surrounding taxation, businesses world-wide seek to ‘set-up-shop’ in the tiny Caribbean nation.
While this may have been the case at one point in time, regulators have been working hard to change this narrative/perception. This new framework is just one such example, as it is structured to enforce compliance with international AML practices; in doing so, it is hoped that criminal activity, which often makes use of new technologies, will be abated.
With a population of roughly 65,000 people, Cayman Islands is one of the larger island nations found in the Caribbean.
On island, multiple regulatory bodies work together to ensure companies employ safe practices. Two of these, which had a hand in the passing of this new framework, include:
- The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force
- The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA)
In Other News
While a newly established sandbox within Cayman Islands is a good thing, they are not the first to take the leap in establishing such a program. We recently took a look at another sandbox program, established by industry leading, Vertalo. While the former is overseen by government regulators, the latter offers similar benefits; the ability to test out services in a low-risk environment.
Facebook’s Libra Wallet Calibra Rebrands to Novi Financial
This week, the company responsible for Facebook’s Libra wallet services, Calibra, announced a rebranding. The blockchain-based provider will now go by Novi. The rebranding demonstrates Facebook’s continued commitment to introduce the Libra project to the market, despite heavy opposition from lawmakers. Additionally, it signals a fresh marketing strategy on the part of the Libra team.
As part of the rebranding, Facebook created a new subsidiary – Novi Financial. Interestingly, the word Novi is derived from the Latin words “Novus via” which means “New way”. The name seems fitting as Libra developers search for a new way to get regulator approval for their advantageous project.
In a recent interview, company executives spoke publicly about the decision to rebrand the firm. Importantly, they stated that the name change didn’t change the companies commitment to bring financial service to all parts of the world. Executives explained that the rebrand was part of a larger strategy to bring the company more in line with the fluidity of cryptocurrencies and the overall goal of the Libra project.
According to developers, the Novi crypto wallet features a host of helpful features to support the Libra ecosystem. The Dapp will function as a standalone feature. However, it will have full interoperability within Facebook’s sphere of influence. This strategy would see the Novi wallet available to all Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp clients.
Notably, the wallet will offer users near-instantaneous transaction times. Additionally, users can send funds between each other at a fraction of the costs of traditional money sending services. Executives didn’t sate how the fee structure for the system will work, but they did say there would be no hidden fees. One is left to assume that the company intends to take a small percentage of each transaction.
Importantly, the Novi Wallet features built-in AML and KYC compliance mechanisms. Speaking on these systems, developers stated that users will need to verify their identity in various ways. These verification systems can include providing government-issued ID and verification video chats. Novi executives also didn’t give any details on a potential release date.
Their hesitant is well warranted as the Facebook Libra project continues to go through court proceeding with SEC regulators. To date, regulators have shown no sign of budging on their anti-Libra stance. Despite the current atmosphere of distrust, Facebook believes it has the capability to sway the tides.
SEC Taking Wins
Surely, Libra has a rocky road ahead of it. For one, the SEC continues to block any cryptocurrency projects presented from large social media platforms. A perfect example of their entanglement strategy occurred this week when Telegram withdrew its application for the TON blockchain ecosystem.
Novi to Bank
Regardless of the fate of Libra, Novi may still find a comfy home in the crypto sphere. For now, the entire crypto community awaits to see how Facebook plans to transform the mood of regulators and bring the Libra concept to light.