Offering Decentralised Currency Options WazirX is India's largest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of daily trading volume and has a user base of over 6.5 million

By Shipra Singh

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Nischal Shetty, Founder WazirX

"I got serious about cryptocurrencies when centralized social networks like Twitter and Instagram started cutting off API access. I realized that you cannot depend on centralized companies because they can change the rules of the game anytime they want," says Nischal Shetty.

Further, Shetty's first experience with a cryptocurrency exchange in 2017 left him disappointed. Determined to contribute towards the growth of the global decentralized ecosystem and create a platform with cutting edge User Experience (UX) design and transparency, he launched WazirX in 2018.

"Having built Crowdfire (Shetty's first startup) we understood what it takes to build and scale a global tech product out of India. We love challenges, and decided to build WazirX," says the founder Shetty.

Market Leader In the Making

Today, WazirX is India's largest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of daily trading volume and has a user base of over 6.5 million.

Ask Shetty and he says their undeterred focus on creating more awareness about cryptocurrencies and making the digital tokens accessible to everyone in India have helped them achieve this feat.

For this reason, when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had rolled out an order in 2018 barring banks from dealing in all transactions related to cryptocurrencies, WazirX not only survived but also thrived.

"A week before the 2018 RBI's ban on banks trading with crypto came into effect, we had revealed our auto-matching peer-to-peer transfer mechanism where people could buy and sell crypto directly with each other while WazirX acted as an escrow for safekeeping of the transaction. While, in the aftermath of the RBI ban, several promising crypto startups and exchanges were forced to shut shops or relocate, WazirX, reported 35 per cent month-on-month growth," says Shetty.

In its three years of operations, Mumbai-headquartered WazirX has devised a suite of services with tech beyond deposit and withdrawal. Its key features include instant INR (fiat) deposit and withdrawal options to help users enter and exit anytime 24x7, QuickBuy feature that allows users to buy their first cryptocurrency with just a tap, over 200 market pairs, Smart Token Fund to help crypto investors find expert traders and let the latter manage their crypto portfolio, auto-matching P2P engine with high liquidity and login via the Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world in terms of trading volume.

The year 2020, which disrupted businesses across sectors, proved to be an exceptionally good one for WazirX. The company claims to have recorded growth of 1850 per cent in monthly volume from pre-lockdown to December 2020 and doubled their team strength since December last year.

"As a 3-year old company, our current talent is spread across Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities in India. This growth was possible due to our highly engaged employees, who truly believed in our company's vision and are self-starters who enjoy working independently. While we have doubled our headcount since Dec 2020 our current plan is to further increase our headcount by the end of this year," says Shetty. The company is actively recruiting for over 100 new positions across core tech development, support, and marketing roles and plans to hire more people for senior and mid-level roles in the coming months.

Ofcourse, WazirX is not the only cryptocurrency-related startup to have recorded stupendous growth in the last one year. Bitcoin's, the most popular cryptocurrency, price rally in the last year has resulted in increasing investor participation. Bitcoin price has increased by a whopping 790 per cent between January 2020 and April 2021 when bitcoin touched its peak price to trade at around USD 62,000. Since then, the digital token's price has nosedived to half of its peak and is currently trading around USD 32,000.

Shetty said going remote due to Covid-19 induced lockdown has helped the company scale and grow their business globally out of India without being restricted to any geographical location.

Shetty is confident that by the next bull run in the cryptocurrency market, WazirX will cross 100 million users in India alone within the next three to four years. "We're looking to onboard around 100M users on our platform and introduce more features on WazirX to make trading experience smooth. We're working on various other projects which also involve OTC Desk, DEX, among others."

Shipra Singh

Entrepreneur Staff

Freelance Journalist

Now a freelance journalist, ealier steered the Wealth section on the Entrepreneur website, covering everything finance. Previously a personal finance reporter at The Economic Times and Outlook Money.

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