How crypto exchange ZebPay revived from shutdown to land 4M users, $1B in monthly transactions

When crypto exchange Zebpay was launched in 2012, the founders knew crypto was a dangerous affair. But they didn’t envision simply how a lot their boat could be rocked.

Sandeep Goenka, Saurabh Agrawal, and Mahin Gupta began ZebPay as, till the title was modified in 2014. Allowing customers to commerce in cryptocurrency, the exchange grew into considered one of India’s largest.

But simply 4 years later, in 2018, it was shut down.

Avinash Shekhar, Co-CEO, ZebPay, who had joined the crypto exchange as CFO in 2017, says in a video interplay:

“We knew the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was not beneficial in the direction of crypto, and lots of banks have been additionally not supportive about working with us. But we didn’t see the ban coming. Nevertheless, the RBI in 2018 mentioned outright that Indian banks is not going to help crypto exchanges and crypto transactions.”

Singapore-headquartered ZebPay and different crypto exchanges got three months to shut financial institution accounts, and by September 2018, ZebPay returned the deposited cash to its customers.

As it shut store, ZebPay launched a press release which learn, “The current previous has been extraordinarily troublesome. The curb on financial institution accounts has crippled our and our buyer’s capacity to transact enterprise meaningfully. At this level, we’re unable to discover a affordable manner to conduct the cryptocurrency exchange enterprise.”

Avinash Shekhar, Co-CEO, ZebPay

Surviving a crypto winter

While it was simple to dissolve the enterprise and enterprise into different avenues, ZebPay didn’t surrender. Behind the closed shutters, it stayed alive, ready for a possibility to bounce again in India.

Between 2018 and 2020, the agency bided its time by engaged on holding present buyer accounts safe, including multi-signature pockets infrastructure, exploring enterprise in Malta, Australia, Singapore, and so forth.

But by December 2019, the founders felt even this was not working. It was maybe time to consider different choices or shut ZebPay fully, they felt.

Rahul Pagidipati, who had been a silent associate, then purchased out nearly all of the agency, with the founders now not concerned in day-to-day operations.

“The new administration felt we wanted to climate the troublesome instances as we have been satisfied Bitcoin and different cryptos have been the long run – maybe an even bigger disruptor than even the Internet. There have been at all times going to be small and enormous roadblocks alongside the best way. But those that have been left standing would win,” Avinash says.

Their instinct was proper. As 2020 started, there got here a contemporary ray of hope, which crypto entrepreneurs hoped would put an finish to the crypto winter of the earlier two years. And this ray of hope got here in the type of the Supreme Court.

Rahul Pagidipati, Co-CEO, ZebPay

Revival of the crypto market

In March 2020, the Supreme Court struck down the RBI’s ban, which it deemed “unconstitutional” – paving the best way for the return of crypto buying and selling in India. And with it, the revival of the hopes and aspirations of Indian blockchain and crypto entrepreneurs.

A crypto buying and selling increase ensued. From March to September final yr, the variety of buying and selling prospects on ZebPay reportedly grew by virtually 4 instances, with common monthly improve pegged at 24 p.c.

India – like different rising markets – noticed an uptake of investments in crypto, with buyers flocking to the digital tokens as a new and thrilling asset class.

In truth, India was ranked second in the world in phrases of world crypto adoption in 2021, in accordance to a report by blockchain information platform Chainalysis.

In the previous yr, ZebPay has grown into one of many largest crypto exchange platforms in the nation, with over 4 million customers and over $1 billion in monthly transaction volumes.

“Transaction volumes over 16 months have gone up over 25 instances. What we used to do in a month, we now do in a day,” says Avinash.

A snapshot of ZebPay’s crypto-asset exchange app

ZebPay is headquartered in Singapore, however Avinash says that’s only a formality, as most of its operations happen in India. “We have a authorized entity in India, investments go into it, and we pay taxes in India, and many of the crew is right here,” he explains.

A aggressive panorama

It was not a wholly easy return to the limelight for ZebPay. It reopened its shutters inside two days of the Supreme Court verdict, and took a couple of months to get its act again collectively.

And this time, Avinash and the crew weren’t alone. The likes of WazirX, CoinDCX, CoinSwitch Kuber, BuyUCoin, and different crypto exchanges have been all making hay, and quickly onboarding lakhs of shoppers.

“Compared to 2017, there was quite a lot of competitors since final yr. Now, even buyer expectations are considerably greater. We haven’t any selection however to innovate and develop, so we’re making an attempt to handle expectations and work on our techniques, processes, automation, and so forth., concurrently,” he says.

Like most different exchanges, transaction charges are the core income for ZebPay, and can proceed to be the most important contributor for the years to come.

ZebPay can be exploring crypto lending and borrowing options, the place customers can earn curiosity on their crypto property. Avinash expects lending to turn out to be greater and add one other income stream to ZebPay’s enterprise mannequin.

Building the long run for India’s crypto market

There stays work to be finished for India’s crypto trade to maximise its potential. The ecosystem presently awaits regulatory readability from the federal government. The authorities is reportedly planning to outline crypto and compartmentalise digital currencies on the idea of their use instances.

Earlier, it was thought the inter-ministerial panel on cryptocurrency beneath the Chairmanship of Secretary (Economic Affairs) had beneficial that each one non-public cryptocurrencies, besides any digital currencies issued by the state, can be prohibited in India.

As such, it stays to be seen whether or not crypto can be legalised or not.

Avinash says, “There have been quite a few voices to regulate this trade somewhat than ban it. Crypto can create billion greenback corporations out of India and enhance the nation’s progress. This may even assist the federal government get better extra tax. Now, we wait and see if India will take part in the change or sit on the fence.”

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About the Author: Daniel