India’s largest cryptocurrency unicorn, Coinswitch Kuber, will diversify into a wealth tech startup that deals in Indian and US stocks, mutual funds, fixed deposits and bonds in a bid to offer its over 15 million users multiple investment avenues, its founder told ET.
In short, Coinswitch wants to be a one-stop shop for all things investment, according to Ashish Singhal, the company’s chief executive.
“We will help our users on their investment journey with crypto as the basis of the company. Our young users’ needs will evolve over time, and they will diversify their investments as long as crypto remains a high-risk, high-reward asset class, ” Singhal said.
So, is the crypto platform de-risking its business model in the face of regulatory uncertainty?
Singhal, however, said crypto would still be at the centre of its operations even as it creates a basket of investment opportunities for its users.
“Our users put their risk capital into crypto, but they also have a separate packet of investment income. We want to help our users across asset classes, ” he said.
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He emphasised that Coinswitch Kuber would remain a crypto-first company.
“Our fortunes are tied to crypto. If crypto dies, we die, “Singhal said.
In October, the crypto asset platform closed a $260 million Series C funding round from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Coinbase Ventures, and existing investors like Sequoia Capital India and Tiger Global at a valuation of $1.9 billion.
Less than 1% of Indians invest beyond fixed deposits due to a lack of financial knowledge and proper pre-purchase and post-purchase support, Singhal said.
“Coinswitch is looking to solve that problem. We want to help users gain access to different asset classes, educate them on the investment process and then help them make their money grow in a safe environment, ” he said.
The trading platform is also developing a suite of crypto products as well, some of which will be launched in the next quarter.
The government is in the process of formulating crypto legislation, but the regulations might be delayed due to the complex nature of crypto exchanges.
The company is also looking at playing in the NFT (non-fungible token) market, but in a slightly different way.
“We believe that NFTs are probably not the right investment tool, but they are an amazing tool for creators and communities. We are looking at the right use cases that will help us create amazing properties in India, ” said Singhal.
In the future, the company could also delve into developing blockchain platforms.
“So, we would definitely consider Ethereum, Matic, Solana, and the rest of the blockchain… The idea is to be very innovative, to provide Indian users with the same set of capabilities that their US counterparts have and to build products out of India for use globally, ” he said.
The company does not own any cryptocurrency or a proprietary book of its own, but is just ‘a matching platform,” said Singhal.
Coinswitch Kuber currently has about 400 people on its rolls, but the company is hiring aggressively and is looking at a workforce of between 1,500 and 2,000 people in the next couple of years. “Every three months it feels like a new phase of the company,” he said.
Coinswitch started its India operations in June 2020 and is now the number one cryptocurrency platform in India. “It’s the most innovative companies that will win,” Singhal said.
“We should break even by the end of this financial year itself, and next year we will be profitable,” he added.
The government, Singhal said, is taking its time in crafting a holistic set of rules for the industry, and that is affecting the industry both positively as well as negatively.
“We obviously don’t want any rushed decisions. This is a complicated industry that is evolving every single day. And we would not want to be in a situation where innovation gets hampered because of rushed rulings. But we also stand at a point where these rulings are very important to come out, because the regulations would help new entrepreneurs build new crypto companies, ” Singhal, who is also co-chair of the Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC), said.
So, when is the industry expecting the government to come up with the regulations?
“We are expecting something to come out during the budget session that would give us clarity. It’s an evolving space, so it can be a phased approach, not that the entire set of regulations is released in one go,” he said.