US-headquartered digital currency exchange CrossTower has set up a local unit in India and launched a trading platform to capture the growing domestic crypto market even though the fate of cryptocurrency in India is still unclear. CrossTower India has already hired 35 people and plans to increase headcount to 100 in six to nine months, the company said. The company is following in the footsteps of market leader Binance, which entered India in 2019.
What is CrossTower?
The company provides liquidity for digital currency transactions, facilitating global trade between traders. Its Bitcoin exchange enables users to trade USD, EUR, CNY, SGD, GBP, HKD, and KRW against cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. It is a pioneer in providing tech solutions to offer 'Fiducial' FX to allow for more flexibility and innovative trading features, the company said. CrossTower serves more than 10 million customers from more than 165 countries and processed more than $600 million in transactions in 2018. "India is among the most active bitcoin trading markets in the world. We are pleased to welcome the world-class talent CrossTower has in India to strengthen its operations here," said Ranjeet Raman, vice president, India at CrossTower.
What is the company doing in India?
"CrossTower's recent expansion into India is driven by a need for a local exchange for providing market access for US investors and an attractive alternative for US traders seeking access to a large and robust market," said Kostya Kortchinsky, CrossTower's co-founder and CEO. "In India, customers will be able to trade on the CrossTower platform, buy tokens using the local Indian rupee and trade with other global crypto traders." Crypto Exchange Market Size in India A report by NASSCOM estimates that the Indian crypto market size stood at $540 million in January, and it is expected to hit $1.6 billion in 2019, driven by rising interest and demand for crypto-based products. However, the crypto exchange market in India will be less than one-fifth of the size of US crypto exchange market.
How did the company enter India despite policy uncertainty?
“Although there are a lot of uncertainties in the crypto industry due to the current government, we are still confident of India becoming a strong market in crypto adoption,” explained Sukanya Roy, chief revenue officer at CrossTower. The company has partnered with Hong Kong-based AkashTech and had already developed a technology that allows it to launch a foreign exchange cryptocurrency trading service in India within a year. CrossTower is the first international exchange to use the “Akash Exchange Gateway Platform” and to offer trading of 11 digital assets for Indian customers. It now allows Indian customers to trade Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Binance Coin (BNB), and OmiseGo (OMG). So, Why India?
How does CrossTower compare to Binance in India?
CrossTower has an India presence but operates through multiple office locations. It had started operations in Singapore and is planning to expand into Europe and the US. CrossTower has expanded in Southeast Asia, Europe and North America in addition to its home country Singapore. What is CrossTower's competitive advantage over Binance? Southeast Asia and India are the two major markets for cryptocurrency trading. CrossTower, which was co-founded by CoinFox founder Pavel Matveev, may be able to target both of these regions because it can circumvent local regulations that have been tightening in both of these markets. Last month, the Indian government decided to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges in India.
As regulators in many countries take the path of cautiousness, crypto exchanges will be eyeing markets with greater interest and are eyeing the Chinese market. However, considering the Chinese market's chaotic path to regulation, we can expect a different outcome in India. While China is open to allowing crypto operators and accepting tokens as a means of payment, the Indian government is still in the process of deciding the regulatory framework for crypto, and as such crypto operators are likely to continue to be at the mercy of exchange operators. Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions.