Indian Crypto Community Faces Brain Drain, Blames Unclear Regulations


The company said it is a “remote first” organization, although the exchange’s operations continue from its headquarters in Mumbai. Sameer Mhatre, CTO and third co-founder of the company, would allegedly lead the exchange from India.

In the wake of the Indian government imposing a 30% crypto tax and 1% TDS, among other strict clampdowns, moving WazirX’s headquarters to Dubai would be a significant development. The imposition of taxes has caused trading volume to drop across all cryptocurrency exchanges in India.

The ZebPay exchange, which handled almost half of all crypto transactions in the country in 2018, has closed its operations and moved to Singapore. Another crypto platform, Vauld, had a similar story by establishing its operations in Singapore to hedge against regulatory uncertainty.

New tax rules tax Indian exchanges

According to the Indian Express reporttop management of crypto and Web3 firms in the country are fleeing to Dubai and Singapore in a bid to find a more crypto-friendly atmosphere.

A senior official from India’s largest cryptocurrency trading platform pointed out that the bear market is the phase when cryptocurrency companies create products and solutions. The official noted,

“We are in a bear market right now, and this is the time when products and solutions are built. Some of the biggest companies in the Web 2.0 space, like Google Y Facebook, were also built during a slowdown phase. This is why many people who are building crypto and Web 3.0 products are moving to jurisdictions with clearer policy.”

According to a recent Economic Times reportAround 30 to 50 Indian crypto and blockchain entrepreneurs and founders run their businesses out of countries like Dubai and Singapore.

The return of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) push to ban cryptocurrencies, similar to its de facto ban in 2018, has contributed to extending the brain drain, local industry stakeholders said.

Akshay Aggarwal, co-founder of the Blockchained India crypto community, told Forkast:

“The country is probably suffering more from the uncertain posture than from anything else. Builders are moving to register headquarters and pay taxes in foreign jurisdictions.”

Siddharth Sogani, founder and CEO of Crebaco, which conducts cryptocurrency and blockchain research, recently tweeted that India would experience the largest brain drain in history in the next 8-12 months.

Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal is among the group of talent to relocate from India in 2020. He called the massive brain drain “absolutely crazy.”

“It doesn’t make sense for us or any team to expose their protocols to local risks.”