Well, joining me today to discuss the latest crypto trends from his vantage point in India, which remains strong despite clouds of regulatory uncertainty, is CoinDCX co-founder Neeraj Khandelwal. Neeraj, welcome to the show. How is Mumbai?
Neeraj Khandelwal: Thank you, Angie, Mumbai’s great. The weather is good. It’s going to be summer very soon and we are hoping for a great relief from Covid very soon. Things are going well. How about you?
Lau: I don’t think anyone in blockchain or crypto has missed a beat with Covid, with the weather, it seems the temperature all round when it comes to crypto remains hot since January, regardless of temperatures outside.
Let’s talk about the hottest thing happening right now. And I think it had a lot of crypto exchanges, certainly around the world and in this part of the world, in Asia, paying close attention and being very excited. Coinbase’s direct listing on Nasdaq was reported that around five billion worth of shares were sold off, including close to 300 million from CEO Brian Armstrong. That’s quite the payday from a guy that started Coinbase as a YC accelerator just nine years ago. It closely touched 100 billion worth of valuation before selling off a little bit, obviously. But what was your reaction to Coinbase listing? What was the reaction across the industry in India and certainly from the perspective of a crypto exchange?
Khandelwal: Angie, when Coinbase was getting listed and two months leading up to that, we consider it as a very significant event. I personally think that this is where traditional finance gets all the interest that it has in the crypto streamlined because a company which is valued beyond US$75 billion, which is generating US$1.8 billion in revenue per quarter in the last quarter. It catches eyeballs. And when it gets listed on the stock exchange like Nasdaq, it attracts eyeballs of each and every person in traditional finance, be it any country, be it India. India is not an exception.
This is what Indians understand. This is what the stock exchanges of India understand. The regulators take note of such events that this industry is mainstream. This is a message more than anything else. This is a clear-cut message that the crypto industry is huge. It’s growing at a very rapid pace as such a young company can get listed at such a huge valuation and it gets listed after passing all the hurdles, after all the checks that are put in place by the SEC, Securities Exchange Commission. And after that, a company gets listed.
It’s huge and it gives confidence to all the Indians and to people across the globe, that the people, the crypto community is very confident after this listing. I believe this will allow more companies to get listed gradually. This is the first one, the first major listing in the crypto industry. And this will lead to many companies applying for listing and getting listed eventually. So I think this is the beginning of how crypto will become mainstream.
Lau: Interesting, do you think the regulators in India view the Coinbase listing, even despite it being based in the United States as a point of legitimacy, that maybe this is something that they can’t ignore if they want to grow their own unicorns in the space?
Khandelwal: Yes, absolutely. Regulators might not always understand the dynamic technology that is growing at a very rapid pace. They might not be up to the pace with that, but they understand the listing. They perceive listing as something that is getting legitimized by one of the large governments in the world. As for our conversations with the regulators, of course, India is not close to getting exchanges listed very soon. But it’s in the talks and it incites the conversations that we are having with the regulators and the regulatory scenario has become a lot more positive since the last four months. Since, of course, because of the Coinbase listing and so many other events…