OKX plans to enter India, hire local employees for Web3 exploration

The cryptocurrency exchange OKX plans to enter the Indian market and recruit local employees in an effort to expand the possibilities of Web3 applications, according to a CoinDesk report.

OKX chief marketing officer Haider Rafique said the company plans to scale up its wallet services “exponentially” via entrance into India’s developer community. He continued, saying there are currently 200,000 OKX Wallet users in India, which equates to barely 5% of India’s Web3 users.

“We’re going to learn about the community. We’re going to work with local folks — figure out where we can add value.”

OKX is the sixth-largest cryptocurrency exchange worldwide in terms of volume, according to current data from CoinMarketCap. It also does not have a global headquarters but rather works out of regional hubs in Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong and the Bahamas.

Rafique said the company wasn’t planning on opening an office in India but would depend on local employees to lead its efforts in the country.

“We’re trying to identify who’s who in the zoo and what is their contribution. There’s a large developer community. How do we help them? Build a relationship with them.”

He commented that by taking the community approach, it could highlight the right way to enter the local market.

Recently, OKX partnered with the blockchain platform Neo for an APAC Hackathon in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru. Rafique called this move a test to validate assumptions, understand the culture, and support the local Web3 ecosystem.

Related: Basis trading, simplified, and how exchanges adapt to institutional needs — Q&A with OKX

Trading cryptocurrencies is legal in India, though there are currently no set regulations in place by a central authority, and they are traded and used at the risk of the investor. While they are not banned, they also do not have any status as legal tender, nor can they be used for banking purposes. The country currently imposes a 30% tax on crypto.

On July 27, India’s Supreme Court reprimanded the Union government for the lack of crypto regulations. It pushed the government to reveal if it has any plans for upcoming regulations of digital currencies due toa rise in criminal activities involving cryptocurrencies.

Rafique said he thinks regulators there are beginning to separate Web3 from centralized finance (CeFi). “They’re more concerned about venues that have fiat on-ramps, which we do but we don’t offer it in India,” he said.

“Once India comes up with a regulatory framework for crypto, then we would like to be the front runners.”

While OKX plans to hire on-the-ground staff in India, Indian cryptocurrency exchanges CoinSwitch and CoinDCX have recently had to lay off staff at the hands of the current market slump.

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