The top executives of Indian crypto exchanges such as Coinswitch, CoinDCX, and WazirX are venturing from the centralised ecosystem to the decentralised world of Web3. Most Indian exchanges take custody of your digital assets, making them centralised by nature. In contrast, Web3 is supposed to be the new decentralised version of the internet, which means unlike the current internet (Web2.0) all data will be explicitly owned by the user and not tech corporations.
This development of exploring the Web3 space comes as the global crypto market continues to decline and trading volume on exchanges drop by 50 per cent since July 1, as crypto TDS comes into effect. Last week, three top-level executives at CoinSwitch Kuber resigned and now plan to launch their Web 3 start-up. This includes chief financial officer Sarmad Nazki, chief business officer Sharan Nair and head of new initiatives Krishna Hegde.
“Web3 offers India a never-before opportunity to be the torchbearers of technology and realizing this vision would require the combined efforts of the smartest minds and startups in the country. I’m happy to see Sharan, Sarmad and Krishna spread out and continue to build toward this future,” said Ashish Singhal, co-founder, and CEO, CoinSwitch.
Industry executives believe that Web3 will be the next iteration of the internet based on blockchain technology. “Crypto exchanges will act as a gateway for any decentralised apps, which will be built on Web3. For instance, say any gaming platform built on Web3 will need monetisation, and this is possible by connecting it through a crypto exchange,” explained Sharat Chandra, a blockchain evangelist.
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Crypto executives have understood that the journey towards decentralisation will make Web3 big.”As people grow more familiar with crypto exchanges, they discover use cases with the crypto and move on to the Web3 ecosystems. I think what the founders are doing is that they are always one step ahead of the users,” Rajgopal Menon, Vice President at WazirX told indianexpress.com.
Crypto exchange WazirX has built two startups focusing on Web3 ecosystems. Siddharth Menon, co-founder at WazirX teamed up with Pune-based game development firm SuperGaming to launch Tegro, a Web3 game ecosystem marketplace. Tegro is building game asset (game content) marketplaces for players, traders, and institutional investors, enabling them to trade, hold and play with these game assets. It will also provide asset stats to help them trade and invest better.
Menon believes that Web3 is way ahead of its time but exchanges were the building block to entering the Web3 space. “…when you look at it from this perspective: there’s a lot of things that need to be built in terms of infrastructure for web3 — the Lego blocks if you will. One part of this journey of building for Web3 was the exchange. Now it’s about taking those learnings and building for consumers and gamers. Crypto can’t just be speculative, it needs to add utility.”
Further, WazirX is also building a new blockchain called Shardeum that will compete with others such as Ethereum and Solana. This is one of the first layer-one blockchains being built out of India. “The reason behind building WazirX was to make crypto accessible to everyone in India. Over time, we’ve witnessed the crypto industry evolve into something more with new, emerging use cases like NFTs, DeFi, metaverse and more. For Web3 to reach mass adoption, we need to solve the current scalability issues and this is why I decided to build Shardeum, a highly scalable blockchain that is truly decentralized,” notes Nischal Shetty, Founder, Shardeum.
Crypto platform CoinDCX is not left behind. The exchange had announced the launch of CoinDCX Ventures, an investment initiative that will fund early-stage crypto and blockchain startups. The platform will focus on the Web3 ecosystem in India and globally, and plans to invest Rs 100 crore in the startups over the next 12 months.
Meanwhile, Unocoin cryptocurrency exchange doesn’t have any plan to venture into their Web3 space yet, although it has not completely ruled out the possibility. “Even if we do it would be a project by Unocoin and not a different venture altogether,” Sathvik Vishwanathan of Unocoin told indianexpress.com.