The cryptocurrency industry of India has been growing at a rapid pace in recent times. Various crypto exchanges had reported a 10X increase in trading volumes and a substantial increase in new users.
We recently interviewed Neeraj Khandelwal, Co-Founder at CoinDCX, India’s largest and safest cryptocurrency exchange and liquidity aggregator. A highly skilled engineer with a keen understanding of blockchain and emerging technologies, Neeraj spearheads the technical development of all the CoinDCX products. Neeraj has extensive experience in helping startups shape their technical strategies and blockchain development, building large-scale web applications and strong market entry with product-led growth plans. Prior to his role at CoinDCX, he served as Vice President of Engineering at Holachef and Chief Technology Officer at Doormint, leading a team of over 20 talented developers. Neeraj holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.
He is also one of the keynote speakers at Aeternity Starfleet Demo Day to get an insight on surviving through this ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
DCX, the parent company of CoinDCX is a Singapore-based company that specializes in crypto-enabled financial services. DCX was started in 2018 by Sumit Gupta and Neeraj Khandelwal, two IIT Bombay Alumni with a mission to connect billions of people to global financial markets. CoinDCX is reputed to be World’s most versatile and one of the trustworthy Cryptocurrency Exchange of India. CoinDCX has entitled its traders with a bunch of industry-first crypto-based products to trade better using liquidity from the world’s leading exchanges like Binance, Huobi Global and OKEX.
CoinDCX has recently announced that it had raised $2.5 million from investors such as Polychain Capital and Coinbase Ventures (the investment arm of crypto exchange Coinbase). The investment comes after the exchange’s Series A funding round in March 2020 where CoinDCX secured $3 million from Bain Capital, Polychain and HDR Group, the parent company of BitMEX exchange.
All cryptocurrencies on CoinDCX exchange are kept secured by the crypto custodian service provider, BitGo as announced in May 2020. The funds will be protected by BitGo’s $100 million USD insurance policy provided by Lloyd’s Insurance Syndicates through Lloyd’s market place, including users’ cryptocurrencies, held on MultiSignature cold wallets on DCXLend. This ensures an all-round safety to users’ funds and makes CoinDCX, the safest cryptocurrency exchange in India. The transfer of assets to BitGo wallets have commenced from May 8th, 2020.
CoinDCX has a range of different products such as DCXmargin, DCXtrade, DCXfutures, DCXinsta, DCXlend, DCXmarkets, DCXblog as well as a highly liquid fiat to crypto conversion tool, DCXconvert. They launched the #TryCrypto initiative in March 2020 with a $1.3 million commitment towards creating awareness and adoption of crypto within India. On 16 June 2020, CoinDCX has launched its brand new product, DCXLearn, a premium Blockchain and Cryptocurrency academy which offers guides and articles, online courses, interactive lectures, and much more.
CoinDCX Team is full of crypto and blockchain enthusiasts who have found deeper meanings in our mission of global financial inclusion. Founded by Sumit Gupta and Neeraj Khandelwal in March 2018 with a belief in the core principles of the blockchain, the distributed ledger, and smart contracts that can reshape the ways in which people trust each other.
Neeraj Khandelwal, one of the Co-founders of CoinDCX is a highly skilled engineer with a keen understanding of blockchain and emerging technologies, Neeraj spearheads the technical development of all the CoinDCX products. Neeraj has extensive experience in helping startups shape their technical strategies and blockchain development, building large-scale web applications and strong market entry with product-led growth plans. Prior to his role at CoinDCX, he served as Vice President of Engineering at Holachef and Vice President of Engineering at Doormint, leading a team of over 20 talented developers. Neeraj holds a B.Tech degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.
What is the current position of your exchange during this COVID-19 pandemic? Does the trading go low or high these days?
Despite the global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, CoinDCX – along with the entire Indian cryptocurrency industry – has been experiencing a resurgence in user demand and a spike in trading volumes. We believe the cause of this is two-fold.
The Supreme Court overturn of a banking restriction on the crypto industry in March helped to add a layer of credibility to the use of cryptocurrencies. When the banking ban was lifted, CoinDCX was the first Indian exchange to enable bank transfers. This meant that Indian users could finally buy cryptocurrencies through Indian Rupees (INR) with their own bank accounts on our exchange. This resulted in a 10x increase in user signups, and 47% growth in trading volumes in Q1 alone.
With the national interest and curiosity in cryptocurrencies at a new high, the nationwide lockdown induced by the Covid-19 pandemic meant that Indians spent more time at home. To meet the new demand for knowledge, we launched our nationwide crypto adoption campaign #TryCrypto to provide crypto-related education to Indian users who are keen on learning more about the benefits and usage of cryptocurrencies. The lockdown also meant that users who spent more time at home could also trade any time, at any day they wished, with crypto markets open 24/7. The CoinDCX exchange was prepared to handle this spike in trading volumes, with our team working round the clock to ensure that the exchange was running smoothly and securely.
Where do you see the future of Crypto in India moving towards in terms of Awareness, Acceptance, Adoption and Regulations?
The road to mainstream adoption for cryptocurrencies has been a long journey fraught with numerous obstacles, but we are on the right track and are already starting to see the dawn of a new era for the cryptocurrency industry in India. The Supreme Court ruling in March gained cryptocurrencies a new layer of credibility in India, and an increasing number of Indians are starting to recognise it as a legitimate asset class.
CoinDCX and the Indian cryptocurrency industry are committed to working with the government as well as fostering open dialogue to develop clearer regulations defining the legitimate use and classification of cryptocurrencies. We believe that with a clearer legal framework surrounding cryptocurrencies, traditional actors will be more confident in entering the space. We have already been witnessing an influx of foreign investments into the cryptocurrency industry, with CoinDCX securing investments from renowned global players such as Polychain Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, and HDR Global Trading, Operator of BitMEX. The recent Facebook-Jio deal also signals that cryptocurrencies will have an impact in India in the coming years.
What is the most difficult challenge in running a crypto exchange?
As India’s largest and safest cryptocurrency exchange, we are in a position to handle large volumes of trades each day, as the number of crypto users in India grows day by day. That is why we have been building an exchange that is able to ensure scalability and fund security with the increasing volumes of trades. As the largest crypto exchange in India, we are also responsible for being the leading voice of the industry. To this end, we have been vocal in our support and championship of the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies in India. I am confident in the ability of our team that we have built over the last two years, to handle any headwinds that will come our way.
As a CTO of a leading crypto exchange how difficult is it to handle the responsibility of keeping the people’s fund safe?
Fund security has always been our core focus, as we handle large volumes of trades each day. This number is always increasing, hence we have always been focusing on strengthening our backend infrastructure to protect the funds of our users. We have employed the use of geographically distributed cold wallets, multi-signature authentication, prevention from DDOS attacks, regular stress testing, and 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) in order to provide a safe and reliable experience for our customers.
Other than encouraging and educating our users on the best personal security practices when handling cryptocurrencies, we have also been working to implement custodial services to provide secure storage of crypto on our exchange. As India’s largest and safest crypto exchange, we want users to trade with peace of mind on our exchange.
“Blockchain is more about Decentralization.” Do you think the centralized exchanges will have a good future with this technology getting more matured day by day?
I believe that centralised and Decentralised Exchanges (DEX) have their respective places and advantages in the market today. While centralised exchanges provide for a user-friendly experience to beginner and intermediate traders alike, and provide the most liquidity in the market, DEX offerings have been making progress in solving the liquidity issues that they faced previously. As the technology matures, DEX will definitely have an increasing place in the crypto market.
Will the Atomic swaps impact the crypto exchange business in future?
Atomic swaps have a multitude of advantages, solving issues such as centralisation, interoperability, and security when trading cryptocurrencies. While this could open a new way of transacting crypto in future through decentralised exchanges, the technology is currently still in its nascency, bound by issues of liquidity. It will be an interesting innovation to watch in the cryptocurrency space, as a technology that could potentially change the business of crypto transactions.
What are the plans of CoinDCX? How is your company evolving with the culture of work from home during this lockdown period of COVID-19 pandemic?
With the increasing volumes of trade and customer interest in crypto, the CoinDCX team has been occupied with ensuring that the daily functions of the exchanges are up and running. While the lockdowns have caused us to make some slight adjustments in team functions and logistics, the benefit of running a tech business is that we are always able to connect with each other despite not having in-person meetings.
The lockdown has also led us to focus on encouraging a healthy team culture and we are investing heavily in it. This entails a top-down approach to instil confidence in and empower all employees, where team leaders encourage and commit to transparency in all aspects of team communication. While this takes some adjustments, it is important to ensure that our team morale continues to be high and that we can emerge stronger as a team at the end of the pandemic.
What are your thoughts about the æternity Starfleet acceleration program?
As the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector in India continues to make progress towards mainstream adoption, I believe that we are in a good place with education initiatives, acceleration programmes, incubators, roadshows, and campaigns that add vibrancy to the blockchain and crypto startup sector. æternity Starfleet acceleration program encourages early-stage startups and gives them a credible platform to demonstrate their ideas, as well as provide guidance from industry professionals and experts. In order to push the industry closer towards maturation, we need to support and sustain innovation within our sector, and to encourage startups and entrepreneurs to develop new solutions that will be the future of our industry.
How would you guide the start-ups through this ongoing COVID-19 crisis to thrive and sustain in their business?
During times of turbulence, it is easy to lose sight of your business purpose and your brand vision. Business leaders and entrepreneurs need to strengthen their resolve during times like these and remember to focus on the needs of consumers. From doubling down on technology, to ensuring that every consumer touchpoint is fulfilled and that the best experience is delivered to the customer, leaders need to ensure that their business stays true to its purpose. Last-of-all, I would encourage startups to build a strong team culture that can help businesses weather through the storm.
DECODING MINDS – a brand new series of interviews by Digital Notice to give you an insight into the projects straight from the Founders and the Team. Each article explores the real-world experiences and expertise of our guests to discuss their unique perspective on the project use cases, its challenges, its changes, and its prospects in the fiercely competitive world of Crypto and Blockchain.